One of my big reasons for homeschooling was to connect with my kids. Family togetherness is a value instilled in me by my parents, and I believe that building strong families is a solution to many social problems we face today. However, staying connected with our children seems harder than ever.
Many forces conspire to separate us from our children, including the lure of social media, financial pressure for both parents to work, and the separation of families (whether divorce or just moving away from grandparents). Even though connection is something I value, it’s something I’ve struggled with over the past year.
Thus I’d like to invite you to join me in 10 days of connecting with your kids.
For this series, I’ll be joining Monique from Living Life and Learning and twenty other great bloggers. Each of us has chosen a particular topic for our 10-day series. Click on the buttons below to visit the other blogs!
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Why I Want to Connect with My Kids
When our children are young, connecting with them is easy. They want to spend time with us. In fact, they often howl at the idea of not spending time with us. (Looking at you, Joey.)
Often, we’d love to have a little less connection. I love co-sleeping, but after five babies, my back just won’t handle it anymore. And many things would be easier to do without a baby attached to my hip.
As children get older, their interests widen. They want to be more independent. This year, I’ve found myself feeling disconnected from my older girls. They are now doing most of their schoolwork on their own, requiring less help from me.
They’ve started giving me attitude about their work: “I don’t like this. Why do I have to do this? I don’t want to do school.” They’re reading books I’ve never read and want more playdates with their friends.
I’ve also found it harder to connect with my middle kids. Oh, I spent plenty of time with Joey, my youngest. He wants to nurse, needs help with feeding and dressing, and still stays pretty close to me. But my 3-year-old and 6-year-old can often disappear into their room all day playing together.
Around supper time, I’ll realize my toddler is still in her pyjamas and I’ve barely seen her all day, except to fulfill requests for cinnamon toast and bum wiping. I’ve been busy with the baby, the blog, the housework, the older girls, and she’s been in her own little world of play.
As I look back on our year, I can see some of the causes of this disconnect. Stress over our finances has caused me to put more time into my blog (working from home has its ups and downs!). A change of plans in January caused a lot of depression and sadness for me, which translated into disconnect from the kids.
In September, I officially started homeschooling Jade, and keeping track of the work of three kids has been harder than I expected. Then there’s just the regular activities for a family of five—grocery shopping, house cleaning, extracurricular outings, etc—that keep us busy.
And so, as we move into the summer, I’m trying to reconnect with my kids. My husband and I have set a budget. I’ve recovered emotionally from the events of January. I’m trying to simply blog for fun, instead of for money. Extracurricular activities have ended for the year, and school is into a good routine again (for another month!).
Lately, I’ve been reading Gordon Neufeld’s book Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. It’s an excellent (although heavy) book about connecting with your kids and why that is so important. He points to some of the factors in today’s society (especially schools and peer pressure) that conspire to separate parents from their children. Neufeld urges parents to prioritize a close relationship with their children.
At the very top of our agenda we plus place the task of collecting our children—of drawing them under our wing, making them want to belong to us and with us. We can no longer assume, as parents in older days could, that a strong early bond between ourselves and our children will endure for as long as we need it. ~ Gordon Neufeld, Hold Onto Your Kids
Neufeld talks about how being closely connected to our children makes parenting easier. I can see this in my own family, in times when we have been closely connected, and in families whom I admire. Too many things distract us from the important relationships in our lives, so it’s important that we be deliberate about connecting with our kids.
We face too much competition. To compensate for the cultural chaos of our times, we need to make a habit of collecting our children daily and repeatedly until they are old enough to function as independent beings. ~ Gordon Neufeld, Hold Onto Your Kids
As a Catholic mom, this parent-child connection is also important on the level of faith. We as parents are the first examples of God in our child’s life. And if we seem distant, uncaring, angry, punitive, distracted, busy, or otherwise disconnected, then our children will see God that way. If they don’t feel connected to us, why would they chose, when they are old enough to do so, the faith we have raised them with?
10 Days of Connecting with Your Kids
Over the next two weeks, I’ll share some ways I’m connecting with my kids. If you want to join me on this journey, please subscribe to my email newsletter so you don’t miss any of these posts!
Coming up in this series:
- Grow Your Relationship with Your Daughter with a Mother-Daughter Journal
- One-on-One Dates Build Your Relationship with Your Child
- Reading Together: a Great Way to Connect with Your Child
- Family Traditions Foster Family Connections
- 3 Obstacles to Connecting with Our Kids
- Connecting with God the Father: How to Help Children Pray
- How to Discipline Your Kids without Damaging Your Relationship
- The Family that Works Together Stays Together
- 51 Ways to Connect with Your Kids
How do you stay connected with your kids?