My oldest son starts school soon and I’ve been feeling a range of emotions. Having 6 fewer hours a day together is no doubt going to cause big changes in our routine and relationship, even though I know “it will be fine.” Putting my own nerves and concerns that I will miss him aside, however, I am trying to focus on finding ways I can connect with him during the time we do have together.
Mostly I want to make sure he knows I love him and that I am here for him – even though he will not be with me all day anymore.
Here are five easy ways to connect with kids starting school.
Make time for extra cuddles in the morning.
It sounds simple but I know when we are rushing out the door, I can forget to be calm and centered enough to remember hugs and kisses. I want to be sure I give my son an unhurried hug before leaving every morning in case we forget or get distracted right before drop off. Ideally I will plan so that there are a few surplus minutes on the clock in case this takes a bit longer than usual.
Leave a little note or picture in his lunch box.
My son can’t read yet but I’d like to leave a little drawing or note with symbols (eye heart U) in his lunch box. I’m thinking about using post-it notes, nothing fancy, but just a small gesture to let him know he’s not alone and I’m still thinking of him during the day.
Sit together while sharing an after-school snack.
When we are taking care of errands and busy with activities, I sometimes feel I miss out on important conversations. Just to ensure he can chat about anything he needs to, I want to make an effort to sit and share a snack at the table each afternoon when he comes home from school… before any after-school jobs are started. Bedtime is not always the best time for talking because everyone is tired (and my boys share a room) so I am going to see if after-school snack time is a good place to open up space for connecting.
Read books that reminds him how much he is loved.
Story time is such a wonderful way to bring up memories and nurture bonds. Last month I got a personalized copy of “Who Loves Me?” by I See Me. This is a precious book that tells your child about everyone who loves them. You get to choose which people are included in the book (grandparents, siblings, etc) as well as personalize the book with a full name, birth date, picture, and short message. Both my boys love their copy and we have enjoyed reading through it many times. The poetry is beautiful and the pictures are vibrant. I feel the book offers a really nice way to remind them how many people love them, which will hopefully help them feel more confident and supported.
Spend one-on-one time learning more about his interests on the weekend.
Whether it’s simply a walk to the corner store or spending some time reading during little brother’s nap, I’d like to make sure I have a good thirty minutes with my older son (one on one) every weekend. Because I will be less involved in his everyday play, I would like to use this time to find out about any new interests. For example, now my son really likes to kick a ball outside and create drawings of bugs and reptiles. But who knows what new topics he will get into this year? I would like to purposefully make weekend time “catch up time” to find out more about what he is learning and enjoying.
I’m sure after school starts, I will learn even more about adding in time for connection and figuring out how to adjust our time together. Do you add special moments into the day to connect with your child? Please share!
Enter the Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Shelli who was the winner.
Would your child like a personalized copy of “Who Loves Me?” by I See Me? Simply comment with your answer to the question below to enter the giveaway competition. The most compelling or creative answer will win. The contest ends on 27 January 2014 at 9pm EST, and the winner will be contacted for details to create their book! This giveaway is open to residents of all countries. Please be sure to use a valid email address. The winner will be contacted to request mailing details and if we do not receive a response within 5 days, a new winner will be chosen.
Answer this question to enter the giveaway:
What is your child’s favorite way to connect with you?
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We connect through touch. Hugs, kisses, holding hands, snuggling while reading or watching a movie, touch reconnects us. You will often find one of our boys sitting in our lap or being held with their head resting on our chests syncing our heart beats and breath. Touch allows us to reconnect when words would sometimes get in the way or we need to slow down our busy and often chaotic lives.
We connect through books. We spend time reading together throughout each day, and always before naps and bedtime. My 5 year old has long relished this routine, and my 20 month old is now starting to seek us out for story time and stick with us for a whole book (even if its just looking at all the pages together). This would make the perfect birthday gift when he turns 2 at the end of next month!
I have two children, one of whom is about to start school also. He has autism and lives in a shared care scenario. His favourite way to reconnect with me is to play games – usually on my phone, while snuggled up on my bed, or to read books together. He even set a goal of us reading 100 books in our time together this month!! He’s pretty incredible ☺
We have so many ways to connect, and I’m always looking for more, we get so little time together as I’m a full time student. When we get back from a day at University & Nursery, we have snuggly time in her den in her bedroom, with stories & cuddles. We have special time with no screens or distractions allowed, and my daughters choice of games (usually involving tickles, hide & seek, or a game we call ‘I’m not letting you go!’ where I cuddle her and refuse to let her go as I love her so much! But she always manages to outsmart me and escape!).
But our favourite way to connect, that I love so much, is going on little walks together…they can be little trips to the corner shop, or little aimless walks just to be outside…It is then that I really get to know my little treasure and I learn her deepest secrets and thoughts about the world. We go on adventures, wish on the stars & say hello to the cheshire cat moon! I could walk with her for hours like that, we become conspirators, the greatest of friends, as close and connected as ever <3
We connect by spending quality time together. My daughter loves snuggling and laughing so we do activities that give us opportunity to do just that.
Hi Chelsea, what a lovely post! Thank you for your ideas!
I love to do arts and crafts with my kids. Finding out their abilities through different projects, helping them and watching their imagination unravel is a great way for me to connect with them and learn new things about them.
I have 4 children and have recently relocated my family to Israel.
Even though my 7 year old took the transition the hardest,she has so far adjusted brilliantly and made new friends.
However starting first grade in foreign country wasn’t easy at first and we experienced many frustrations and challenges. I am always looking for new ways and ideas to connect with her to help us both tackle everyday learning obstacles and surprises that make us sometimes clash.
Being an artist I would try to cheer her up, make her laugh or ease her frustrations by drawing little pictures for her. In return she figured a way to connect with me through drawing little messages for me herself. Like when I am very busy and she needs me, she simply draws us smiling together holding hands and hands me that little note, reminding me: “Mommy, stop and come spend time with me!”
I am finding it’s not just about the ways to connect, but not forgetting to connect in the first place.
I’d be thrilled to have this book!
May the lucky winner enjoy deepening connection with their child! <3
I think it’s so sweet that the two of you connect with drawing little messages for each other!
We connect so many different ways but reading would have to be the one that we connect the most through. We go on adventures together, and laugh and smile together. Such a special time when we read.
I have two little ones and we all have very active lives. My husband and I try to do date night once a month where we each go on a “date” with one of our children. It could be as elaborate as a fancy dinner or as simple as running errands together and we try to involve the appropriate child in the choosing. We also make special cuddle time at night. My kids do each have their own rooms and their own bedtimes. Either my husband or I will read to/with each child and then the other parent goes in to reflect the day or the day to come. We started this when my first was even too young to form sentences but it helped my husband here how our day went since he missed so much of it. Now, it’s my children often reflecting their days for us.
My daughter is quite sensitive at times and I feel the connecting time I spend with her is so important. She is five now and still says she doesn’t want to go to school ( she has been in day care since age 2). When I take out time (sometimes she needs a lot) to connect with her it calms her and allows her to be her full happy self. She enjoys pretend play – baby, mom, school, home, kitchen, store, etc. we also connect by doing crafts, tickling, talking in the car, her playing with my hair and a lot of talking and listening.
chilling on the couch together with some books
My 3-year-old son likes to cuddle. He asks, “Can you bweep (sleep) with me, mom? Just por a wittle bit?”
My 6-year-old daughter likes to cook or bake with me. Or go shopping.
My 9-year-old son likes to play games with me. We also recently had a fun hot chocolate date at Starbucks and we brought along a “chat pack” which has interesting and thought-provoking questions to discuss.
We all love reading together.
None of these things are done often enough! I appreciate reading everyone’s ideas… it’s a good reminder to take time to connect with my kids!
Every night, before my child sleeps; he tells me about his day in the school from A to Z. In bed, while i am hugging and kissing him I use this opportunity to talk about love, friendship, morality, sadness, happiness and discuss with him all his ides and thoughts that he had during the day in the school. Also, i use this opportunity to share some glimpse of my day with him; so he would feel that he was also part of my day and that though we live in our individual space during the day each with his/her own unique experiences; we always meet in a shared-space where our day connects and our hearts are united!
My 3 year old son and I connect through art. He has a developmental delay that affects his speech, so we communicate and connect through art. Finger paints and watercolors are our favorite. We sit together at the table and create art together and it is so special to me. He loves it and asks to paint at least once a day!
My littlies aren’t ready for school yet but as a teacher the shear delight on a child’s face when they find a hidden message in their lunch box is heart warming. I will be doing this for my 3. Thank you.