Parenting has to be one of the hardest parts of life you can go through. There are more households with two working parents than ever before and while it’s necessary in most cases, working can cause a divide between you and your little ones.
As I write this, I recall a situation years ago when I was with a few members of my family. In order to pay all of their living expenses, both parents had to work. The youngest child, around 4 at the time, was upset because the mom was working all the time. It was heartbreaking to hear and unfortunately, this happens in so many households.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent moments like those and I’m about to let you in on all of my secrets.
Designate a Certain Day for Mommy (or Daddy) and Me Time.
When you crave attention from your parents, nothing feels better than having one on one time together. Whether it be something as simple as running around in the backyard or a day at the zoo, any time spent together will help you better connect with your child and strengthen the bond between both of you.
I know every family’s situation is different, so setting aside the time to play outdoors and hangout with your little ones can be difficult. The most important thing to remember when trying to connect with your little one is that it shouldn’t feel like work.
Even if your little one is still an infant, spending special time with them outdoors will give them the fresh air they need and you’ll be able to spend quality time together that will play a vital role in their development. So, break out the jogging stroller and head over to your closest park and take a walk (or a jog) with your little one!
Personally, I enjoy taking my kiddos on outdoor adventures. After a recent article I read about the benefits kids get from outdoor activities, I try to (at the minimum) go on hikes with my kids every 2 weeks.
Remember that this doesn’t have to be an entire day. Even just 10-15 minutes before bedtime talking or reading together will help you have a better connection with your little one.
Prepare and Eat Dinner Together.
This one is one of my favorites. My little one isn’t quite old enough to help with meal prep and cooking, but this is one method I plan on using for years to come. Not only does this help strengthen your relationship, but it also teaches them the most important life skill a human can have: How to cook for themselves.
I also really like this because it isn’t adding on one more thing to your daily to do list. You are simply incorporating something new into a task you do every day. Whether it’s a quick dinner or a special night that requires longer prep and cook time, you are utilizing your both your little one’s and your time beneficially.
Want to make it even more fun? Bring home a Cookbooks for Kids and try out some of the recipes with your little chefs!
Try New Things Together!
Nothing is more memorable to someone when they try something for the first time, so why not share that moment with your kiddos? It can be anything from experiencing a roller coaster for the first time to eating a weird food. It is totally worth it to see the looks on their face before it happens, during the experience and the aftermath. This simple act could easily turn into one of their fondest childhood memories.
Pretend Playing Together Has so Many Benefits!
As a toddler mom, I can vouch for this method fully. Pretend play in general has so many benefits to a child’s development what with the social skills and creativity it helps develop, so joining in on the fun can only improve your little one’s well being even further.
This method can prove difficult depending on your little one’s personality, but to ensure a positive experience for everybody, let them take charge of the situation. They aren’t going to enjoy themselves if you are still in parent mode and are making all of the decisions for them.
This is your chance to show them how to be a good leader. If they aren’t too into the idea of them taking charge, you can easily help them along by giving them different options of play to choose from while playing.
Put Down the Phone…
Now on to the fifth, final and most important thing to remember when trying to connect with your little one: NO PHONES ALLOWED.
I’ll be the first to admit that I may not be the best at this one, but I do try my hardest to give my little ones the undivided attention they deserve whenever I possibly can. I rely on my phone to keep in touch with clients and coworkers and find out when new opportunities arise, so I am on and off my phone consistently throughout the day.
I feel like we have become so reliant on technology, that we’ve lost touch on life’s more important things. It’s essential that we take more time away from our phones when we’re at home with our little ones in order to spend more time “in the moment.”
If you find that your little one is trying to get your attention while you're checking your emails, maybe that is your cue to unplug and hangout with your little one even if it is only for a short time. The more uninterrupted one on one time you have with your little one, the better their well-being will be.
It’s easy to get caught up in work and other aspects of life, but it’s important to think about how your little ones may be affected by all of it. By simply spending as little as 10-15 minutes together every day, you will strengthen the connection you have with each other indefinitely.
Who's the Writer
Jenn is a blogger for Mommy Stroller, which focuses on helping parents figure out which stroller and baby gear they should get. The blog was started by Evelyn and her husband, Paul, who both decided to blog about baby gear after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friend, live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller).