Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge Week 3 {Connect with Your Kids}

Boy, do I need this challenge! It has been said that my daughter Riley (age 7) is my sanctification. She is a wonderful, beautiful challenge of a girl. You know the song from the Sound of Music, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria"? Just insert Riley's name in there. We but heads every day, and we are both incredibly stubborn.

Anyway, over the years, it has often been difficult for me to connect with her. She has been known to request "girly time" of just me and her, and I try to comply as often as I can. The fact that she still asks is encouraging to me. But I know that the older she gets, the more I need to make the effort to really have quality time.

As a homeschooling mom, I get plenty of quantity time with my kids, and with my younger ones, quality time just seems to happen with cuddles and sit-in-the-lap storytime. I'm learning that as my kids grow out of that stage though, the quality time is going to take a bit more effort on my part. So I've determined to start by spending "girly time" with Riley at least once a month, with little connections at least once a week.

Because planning excites me, I started by making a list of fun things we could do together. Here are 12 real ideas for our monthly time; some are free and some will cost a little bit, probably nothing over $20 though.

  • Spa night at home - bubble bath, paint our nails and toe nails, try out massage tools, etc.
  • Lunch at her favorite place
  • Go for a hike, just the two of us
  • Go see a movie
  • Do some special cooking or baking
  • Lunch at a tea room
  • Pick a girly movie to watch in a home theater we set up
  • Go get an actual mani/pedi together
  • Create matching friendship bracelets
  • Set a $5 budget each for the Dollar Store and see what we come up with
  • Have a tea party at home with fancy dishes, "biscuits", scones, and all
  • Get breakfast at a bakery

Now, I could really over-think this and get all crafty with homemade envelopes and special stationary and all kinds of cutesieness, and that's fine, but really? Neither one of us needs that. That's not saying that that won't eventually happen, ;-) but that's not the important part right now.

The challenge for you this week is to find some way to connect with your kids, on purpose, planned. Even if this is something that you already excel at, a little extra effort never hurt any relationship, right?

  1. Make a list of activities you can do with each of your kiddos, and specifically the one(s) you have the hardest time connecting with - if you need inspiration, there are many other blog posts out there with date ideas for your sons or daughters.
  2. Determine your method for carrying out this plan. When are you going to do these activities? How often? How will you schedule them and set aside that time? My plan is to get together with Riley to choose the month's activities (out of 2 or 3 of the most appropriate options) and then schedule it close to the 17th (her birth date) of each month. Since I want to do this idea with each of my kiddos, aiming for a similar date every month will help me insure that I get them all on the schedule. But you may have a different idea.
  3. Get excited! These are our beautiful children! They love us, we love them! We want to have a strong bond for so many reasons. Just because we have to schedule them in, doesn't mean that the time is a burden any more than finding time with our husbands is a burden. It just makes sense.

And, for the record, it was all I could do to keep myself from creating cute stationary and a sweet little system for this plan so I could show you all how fun and precious and Valentine's-y it could be. But because we are real people, and we know our readers are real people, this isn't a time to get overwhelmed with projects. Valentine's Day is ultimately about loving on people, not making more stuff.

My encouragement to you is to keep it simple! Or, if you want to do the fun stuff I've skipped for this post, so be it! But don't sacrifice the doing of the challenge for the sake of a "project". Does that make sense?

Writing posts with baby Darcy in an Ergo on my lap...

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