“Bye honey. I’ll see you after school.”Does the prospect of saying these words fill you with delight or dread? Most parents will agree that back-to-school is a stressful time But, I’ll share 5 ways to stay connected with your children, making the transition of heading back to school a little easier.
1. Be honest. A sense of connection comes through honesty. For back-to-school this means being honest about your own feelings and agendas around having your kids in school. Be simple and clear, without adding drama. Take the mask off and let your children see you for who you are. If you do not, your underlying feelings and desires will leak out anyway and the intuitive ‘gut’ feeling your child has about you will not match the words you’re saying. This disconnection leads to less trust between you and your child. Less trust = less connection.
2. Show you care. We all know the expression ‘actions speak louder than words’. For kids, this message is doubly true. Eye contact, smiling, giving hugs or merely stopping the activity you’re doing when your child comes home are just a few ways to show you care.
3. Take time to connect in the morning before school. If you’re always running late and yelling at each other to get out the door in the morning, consider what you can shift in your schedule to make things easier. Can you get up earlier? Can you reduce distractions? Can you make and pack lunches the night before?
4. Take time to reconnect after a day away from each other. A good way to stay connected, save money and be healthier is for both you and your children to prepare meals together. How about a new ritual of making lunch together the night before?* More than just food, the ritual of making lunch together the night before gives you a way to save money, save time, have a shared activity and eat healthier. Wow. All that just from making lunch together!
5. Remember to have fun. Cliché it may be, but in all the scheduling and commitments that back-to-school brings, we can forget to enjoy one another. Take mini-breaks to walk to the mailbox together at dusk, brush the dog, talk about the commercials or color a picture. If you wait for the perfect opportunity to connect, you might miss a lot of good mini-opportunities. Be creative!
*When I was a school-kid (back in the dark ages), it was pretty common for my parents and I to get out bread, cheese, meat, vegetables, chips, a juice box and maybe a piece of fruit. Then, we’d make lunches together. We would make a big sandwich for my dad with lots of meat and mayo and a half sandwich for me, with a bag of veggies on the side. The juice boxes would go in the freezer. In the morning, I’d take out the juice box and put it in the bottom of a brown paper bag. Then I’d carefully layer in my sandwich, a baggie of vegetables, and my chips on top. I’d fold over the top of my brown bag (a lunch box might be even cooler), and that was that. My lunch could sit in my locker at school until lunch time, at which point my juice was usually thawed (or slushy, which was fun, too) and my sandwich was still cold. I could take real food like whole wheat bread, cheese, shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato and pickles and leave them out of the refrigerator for 4 hours or more because of that little juice box trick. Everything was still fresh and yummy. Tip - Definitely put the veggies in a separate bag to keep the bread and cheese from getting soggy and yucky.
About the Author: