Are you feeling guilty because you feel like you don’t have time to focus on your children?
If you have too many things going on right now, but every single one of those things are absolutely necessary, and you just can’t cut anything out…well, what’s an involved, but exhausted and overwhelmed Mom supposed to do?
You know that spending quality, focused time with your children is vitally important! But right now, you’re in a season of life that makes time spent free of multi-tasking to the nth degree feel completely impossible.
Mama, I’ve got you covered. Over the years I have figured out a few ways to maximize every interaction that I have with my children. Let’s go over three different ways that I have learned to slow down and focus on my children in a way that leaves both of us feeling connected, but most importantly, leaves the child feeling 100% valued and prioritized.
1. Focus on Your Children- Ask Specific Questions
When you start talking to your child, do you start off with a generic question? For example, “How was your day?” or “So, what were you playing outside?”
Generic answers generally receive generic answers.
Think about when you were a child yourself and your parent asked you a generic question.
Parent: “So, what did you learn in school today?”
Child: “Umm, stuff.”
Parent: “Well, what kind of stuff?”
You: “Well, you know…stuff!”
Did you ever answer one of those generic questions with a detailed explanation that brought you closer to your parent? I know that I didn’t!
So instead of asking your child generic questions, have several detailed conversation starters ready instead.
Here are some examples!
- What is the funniest thing that happened to you today?
- What is your favorite thing about the summer (or whatever season you currently in)?
- If you could have any flavor of icecream, what would it be? (bonus points if you bring home that flavor sometime over the next few days!)
- If you could bring one zoo animal home for the day, which one would it be? (What would you do with it? Where would it sleep? What would you feed it?)
Don’t just ask questions though, participate in the conversation. After your child gives his answer, give your answer as well.
Asking specific questions will not only help your children give you better answers, but it will also help you to focus on your children and not be distracted by everything else that still needs to be done.
2. Focus on Your Children- Speak Your Child’s Language
What is your child most passionate about? Baseball, bugs, Tsum-Tsums, Pokemon, EvanTube, Batman? Whatever it is that your child is most passionate about…talk about that.
If you don’t know anything about the subject, ask your child to teach you. Then watch your child come alive.
Sharing a common interest with your child will endear you to him like nothing else.
One of my daughters has a love for bears. I don’t particularly care for bears one way or the other, but because I adore my daughter, we discuss bears a lot. I even went so far as to buy us matching bear t-shirts.
I’m really not a t-shirt kind of gal, but for my daughter, I will wear it.
So, let’s look at how this might work for you. If your son is a HUGE Dallas Cowboys fan, and you are being pulled in a million different directions, and you are having a particularly busy month and you feel like you haven’t connected with your son in ages, this is what I would do.
Every time you have time together (I’m thinking in the car shuttling him around), ask a few questions about the Cowboys. Show up with matching t-shirts one day, or keychains, or hats, or even just a refrigerator magnet.
I’m thinking that at the end of your busy month, your son is going to be even more connected to you than before. Keep speaking his language and asking him questions about the game, keep wearing that t-shirt (even if it’s just to sleep in!).
3. Focus on Your Children- Use Daily Landmarks to Connect
Whenever you are having trouble fitting something in, I would advise you to use landmarks. I use landmarks in my home routine, I use them to connect with my children, I even use them to fit in my daily beauty routine.
A landmark is an activity in your day that is always present. Waking up, meal times, bedtime, restroom breaks, driving children to activities, etc.
You may not be having any sit-down meals if you are in a particularly busy season right now. And that’s okay!
If you are eating all of your meals on the run, there is still a waking time, a bedtime, and I’m willing to bet, you are driving children around. So, these are the times that you should capitalize on. Make them count!
When it’s time to wake up your child in the morning, spend 2-3 extra minutes sitting beside him in bed. Go in prepared with a joke, a specific question, or just a short cuddle.
Spend an extra 2-3 minutes on a quicky bed-time story, in the evening. Sing a song together, or just ask another specific question.
Car-rides are perfect times for more in depth conversations. This is where you will be asking your child about his passion, or asking him about his favorite food, color, subject in school, book, movie, animal, etc.
Don’t Allow Busy Times to Discourage You
Even if your busiest times do end up lasting beyond just a week or a month, and extending into a year or more, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still focus and connect with your child.
Your efforts will not be in vain. Your child will remember that even when life was the most hectic, you, his mother, made the time count, and continued to make him feel special and loved.