31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 31: Putting It All Together

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 31: Putting It All Together

I can’t believe it!  We made it through 31 days of non-stop posts about connecting with your child.  I wanted to use this last post to thank you all for hanging with me and see how you did.

Did you try any of the ideas?  Have you been praying for your children?  Have you noticed a difference?

Sometimes it takes stopping and considering the purpose of something to really do it well.  Connecting with your child on a deeper level is vital to their success.  God uses that intentional connection to show them who He is and how much He loves them.  You are just the vessel.  He is the real connection we want to encourage.

Every day, in some way, make a deep, purposeful, lasting connection with your child.  If you have never done it before, your child may take time to respond.  That’s OK.  We don’t do the right thing for the results, we do it because it’s the right thing.  Then we give the rest to God and He will take care of it.

I was chatting with a friend about how sometimes one child is so much like us that we can struggle with communication.  I have a couple of kids that are more private and less sharing.  It’s these kids that I need to pay extra attention to making sure I am setting my own needs aside and being purposeful about making that connection with every day.

Making a purposeful connection, building trust, showing vulnerability and caring will build a relationship with your child that will last through the hard years. 

If you have any questions, or want to dig deeper be sure to attend my free webinar on Monday, November 5 at 7:00PM Central.  We’ll be talking about this, doing some fun giveaways and discussing how to follow up.  I can’t wait to “see” you there!

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 30: Family Pictures

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 30: Family Pictures

Do you ever wonder how your child sees you?  How he sees his siblings?  I love to connect with the small thoughts in my kids’ heads.  Do I seem blue, or red?  (I hope it’s blue!)

One great way to find out is to draw family pictures together!

I will hand my child a blank piece of paper and get one for myself.  Then I give a good start by saying we are going to draw a picture of our family.  We just start with simple stick figures, one for each member of the family.  Then we add details.  Clothing, surroundings, hair, faces….and then give each person a possession.  It can be something they like to do, something they wish they had, a hobby, anything.

You draw a family picture too.  Your promptings can help your child feel free to be creative and keep the conversation going.  They will enjoy seeing how you imagine them in your drawing.

Then hang the pictures up somewhere.  The fridge, a window, I once had one of my girl’s drawing hanging in my car for the longest time.  Show them to Daddy over dinner and talk about how we see each other.  It can help them feel understood.

Don’t forget to join my free webinar on Monday, November 5 at 7:00 PM Central time.

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31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 29: Imagination

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 29: Imagination

I am constantly amazing by my kids’ imagination.  They think of the most fascinating things….from dreams for their future to pretending to be in another world.  To keep a strong connection, sometimes you need to join them in their imagination.

If I hear the kids playing an imaginary game I will sometimes head over and ask, “Can I play too?”  I am very, very careful not to take over, but to just play what they were already playing.  The goal is to become a part of their world, their imagination, their dreams.

I’ve been a rescued princess, a monster, a table, sometimes I’m s-s-s-0000 cold, sometimes I’m flying.  No matter what, I try to enhance the play and maybe add a little bit of permission to have an adventure.

Go ahead Mom….stop your work and play with your kids.  Be a part of their world and let them know you care about even those teeny, little things that they love.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for reminders about my webinar on this series, November 5!



31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 28: A Day of Quiet

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 28: A Day of Quiet

Kids can be loud.  Many children are extremely chatty.  With 11 people living here we have noise happening in every room, all day long.  We miss things and don’t hear all of the important moments because of all of the static noise.  So every once in a while we have….

A day of quiet.

When the volume level has been too high lately, I will tell everyone that tomorrow we are having a quiet day.  I’ll use construction paper to make little signs that I hang around the house.  The signs say things like, “No talking today” and “Shhhhhh…..”

All day long we have to be quiet, play with noiseless toys, control our mouths by not talking unless it is for purely informational purposes….like saying it is time for dinner, etc.  We will talk at the table over a meal, then go back to silence.

This is much more difficult for some children than for others, but it is good for them to do something hard.  They don’t actually NEED to talk.  What they need to do is learn to have self-control.

 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Proverbs 10:19

The connection with your child comes in through communicating in other ways.  If you can’t talk, you have to look at each other, smile, follow, pay attention, understand.

Try it….see what happens.

Set your calendar for my free webinar on this series on Monday, November 5 at 7PM!

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 27: Body Outline

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 27: Body Outline

No, this isn’t a police experiment.  I promise, it’s a fun simple way to connect with your child.  Just hang with me.

We’re going to draw an outline of our bodies.

This is such a silly, spur of the moment thing to do.  Just get some butcher paper (you can get it in a craft store or unfold a couple of brown grocery bags and tape them together) and a sharpie marker.  Lie the paper out on the floor, one piece per person.

Then, you take turns lying down on the paper and tracing around each other’s body.  It’s tickly and giggly and fun.  They will enjoy tracing you as much as they enjoy being traced.

Then color yourselves.  You can talk and tell jokes and make silly pictures of yourselves.  Then cut them out and tape them to the wall, or the back of a door, or in the garage….anywhere!

Now you’ve spent a few minutes just being together for no reason but to just hang out.  There doesn’t always have to be a reason, does there?

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31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 26: 10+ Great Questions to Ask

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 26: 10+ Great Questions to Ask

Sometimes we can forget that our kids are whole people…with deep needs and dreams and plans for their future that all have nothing to do with us.  They can feel a disconnect when we ignore their personal moments or disrespect their uniqueness.  To make that human to human connection, you can ask them questions.

Ask about their day, their dreams, their ideas.

In the mornings I like to ask my kids, “Did you have any dreams last night?”  Dreams are so personal and no one else is directly involved.  If I want to know your dreams then I want to know YOU.  Most days they don’t remember their dreams, sometimes the dreams are long and weird.  But always I want to know if there’s anything going on in their life that might be appearing in their dreams.

When we’re alone together or driving in the car I will ask things like, “What did you do today that you really liked?” or, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?”  Questions like this will spark conversation about the things they like to talk about and show them you are interested in listening and not just talking.  Here are a few other questions to get you started:

*What famous person would you like to meet?/What would you tell them?

*If you met a child your own age that was really poor and had nothing, what’s something of your yours would want to give them?

*Which of your past relatives would you like to have met?

*Who is someone that you have never met but really admire?

*What do you like to think about when you are alone?

*What do you wish people knew about you?

*When you feel really sad or upset, what are 3 things that help you get over it?

*When looking for a new book to read, how do you choose?

*What are 3 things you would ask God if He were standing right here?

*What is your favorite season?/Why?

*Is there anything about your bedroom that you would like to change?

Ask one or two of these questions to your kids, then just listen.  Ask more questions to keep the conversation going.  It’s just about them.  No wrong answers, no lectures, just getting to know them way deep on the inside.

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31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 25: Help Them Out

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 25: Help Them Out

Every once in a while we all have hard days.  I know I do!  There are days I couldn’t get through very well if my kids didn’t help out so much around here.  It always blesses me when they come and offer their help when I’m working.  So when I see one of them having a hard day, I return the favor.

I offer to help them with their work.

We want our kids to learn responsibility.  They should do their chores with joy and not try to get out of them.  But some days a little extra support from Mom can go a long way toward showing your child that you understand their heart.  And you appreciate their efforts.

Just a, “Hey, let me help you with that,” as you dry some dishes and grab the broom to help her finish the kitchen cleanup.  You can chat while you work and make the load lighter.  Or go help him put the lawn tools away after a day of mowing.  In the evening bless him by saying, “I’ll get this for you,” as you pick up the dirty clothes and carry them to the hamper.

This works best if your kids have the habit of doing chores and carrying their own weight around the house.  They won’t appreciate it if you haven’t taught them to work or if you’re constantly rescuing them from doing anything hard.

Can you think of any ways you can help your child today that will make them feel loved?

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 24: Share a Secret

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 24: Share a Secret

Sometimes it’s nice to share a private little secret, just between you and your child.  It makes them feel special.

I’ll whisper to one of the boys, “Let’s do something nice for Daddy today and don’t tell him….”  Then we will think of a secret thing, like cleaning the trash out of his car or making him a little snack.  But we agree not to tell anyone that we did it.  It’s our secret.

We can do nice things for the siblings too, make a bed, help with chores, clean a room….any small thing that would bless someone else.

The key is to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.  Matthew 6:2 tells us not to announce when we give to the needy.  This is a good way to teach your children to do a kindness in secret.  You know about it together, and that’s enough.

If you’re enjoying this series, be sure to go sign up for a reminder for my live webinar on November 5th!

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 23: Save Money Together

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 23: Save Money Together

One of the coolest ways to connect together is to do something with a unified purpose.  Saving money takes sacrifice, determination and willpower.  Why not save money together as a family?

Find a good reason….a charity, a friend in need, an elderly neighbor, a missionary,there are needs in every direction.

I remember several years ago some friends had an emergency and didn’t have insurance for the huge medical bills.  So our little family decided to save all we could to help them.  It became a mission.  Do we get that drink at Sonic, or put the $1 in the jar for the medical bills.  Our kids were so generous, even more than me considering how little they had to give.  It is still a special memory for our family.

Look for ways to save money to help someone else.  It can create a solid, long lasting connection with you and your child.

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31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 22: One Toy for a Day

31 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Child, Day 22: One Toy for a Day

If you’re having trouble making a connection with your child, this is a good one to try.  Sometimes they are distracted, you are busy, we’re all going in different directions.  In those times, pulling back in and connecting with each other calls for drastic measures.  That’s when I make the announcement,“Tomorrow, each child can only play with one toy a piece.”

Each child chooses a toy and the rest of them are put away.  For just a day they each just have one toy to play with, and they can’t trade.  When they get bored, you can connect with them and try to help them think of creative ways to play with that one toy.  They can go outside with no toys and see what they can find to do, you can spend time doing something besides playing with toys.  But if they want to play, they have to just play with the one toy.

If you’re wondering what the purpose of this is, here’s my thought.  Having only one toy creates a new environment.  Our kids have so many toys, mine have way too many.  They have no idea what it is like to only have one thing to play with.  They can just switch to something else when they get bored with one thing.  Having one toy teaches them to think outside of their comfort zone and get a little taste of how most children around the world live.  It encourages conversation, teaches value, enhances creativity.

During the day you can ask them which toys they miss the most.  Or talk to them about how many children in the world don’t have a lot of toys.  Discuss which toys they think they can live without and maybe give those away.  And if they are really complainy about it throughout the day then perhaps it’s a good opportunity for you to see that they are too attached to material things.

I hope you’ll try it.  It will not only draw you closer, but build memories that will carry them into their future.

How are you doing so far?  Have to tried any of the ideas from the series?  I’d love to hear from you!