Are you available to your kids?
If your child wanted to ask you about something, would he or she be able to easily find time in the day to talk to you?
We can get so busy going from one activity to the next – getting the breakfast on the table, out the door, driving to school, racing to practice, doing dinner and homework, getting into bed – sometimes we lack the space and time for important conversations.
If your son or daughter had a question about life, when would they ask it?
If they wanted to tell you a funny story that happened during the day, when would they tell it?
This is why family mealtime must be guarded. No electronics at the table. Not most days eating on the run. You can have some great conversations around the table.
This is why kids should not have earbuds in the car. This is time that you can talk and more importantly, listen.
Sometimes your child just wants one on one time with you.
This occurred to me this week when I was washing dishes and my 7-year-old Lucy was next to me drying them.
Now please note, I wanted to let her off the hook with the chore but thought it would be better for her to help out in the kitchen. This set up of being side by side alone in the kitchen paved the way to a very funny conversation.
She told me about how she had played football at recess and how she had no idea what she was doing. But a friend told her exactly what to do (Run this way with the ball!) and she had a blast.
She was incredibly animated and funny and happy as she told the story. And I thought to myself, that warm exchange between us was made possible by doing the dishes together.
The more we do alongside our kids without any electronics present, the more we have chances to connect and have important conversations.
Important conversations don’t have to be about God, drugs, sex, or alcohol. All the little things you share together help your child to know that when a big issue does come up, mom and dad are there to listen and help.
My fifth grader said after dinner yesterday, “Mom I want to ask you about something but I don’t think it’s a good subject for Lucy.”
We walked into my room together and as I folded some laundry, she told me about how some people in her class were talking about having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
We talked about it together.
Friends, we can’t be so busy that we don’t have time to put life on “pause” to have short or long conversations with our kids. Please put your phone down in the early evening so your kids know you’re available if something is on their minds.
Bedtime is a natural time for kids to talk and that’s good. But it’s also good to have enough margin in your daily schedule that you would be available to talk after dinner or during the car ride to school or other times too.
In addition to daily little conversations, make special times during the year when you get alone with your kids in nature. You will connect to each other much more deeply when WiFi doesn’t exist.