When we had baby #2, hubby and I fell into the pattern of ‘tagging in and out’ with the kids to GTD (get things done) or have some ‘me’ time. The trouble with this we found, is that we missed out on that special one-on-one time. I wanted to have real ‘quality’ or ‘making memories’ time with my kids so we re-ignited a family tradition that I grew up with that I like to call: ‘Special Outings’. These are a great way to keep connecting with your children and build your special bond.
I have vivid memories as a child of going on ‘Special Outings’ with my parents. These were well-thought-out, one-on-one and greatly anticipated occasions that only happened once a year or less. These may be slightly dated examples but one year, my sister went to the John Denver concert, I went to the King Tut exhibit and my other sister went to the Carousel (a restaurant in Toronto, Canada with a carousel pony ride in the middle!). A special outing can be as low-key as a picnic in the park or as extravagant as a trip to Australia (my hubby has taken each of our children to visit his parents when they turn 4). The main criteria is that the child is instrumental in the deciding/planning stage and they get to have one parent entirely to themselves! Family time is fabulous but there’s something magical about being able to fully focus on one at a time!
The Birthday Book
Another ‘family tradition’ that I started a few years ago was our ‘Birthday book’. I write a letter to each child (and to myself and my hubby) on our birthdays each year. Something along the lines of: “Dear Ruby, now you’re 7 and I can’t believe how grown up you are. You’re still as caring and maternal as ever (traits you had even as young as 1 year old)…. Then I carry on to mention her friends, what she loves to do, special events that happened in that year and some hopes for the year ahead. I have to say, it’s quite amazing reading back through these letters and seeing how their personality and passions develop over time. I’m a huge believer in ‘baby journals’ but they tend to end when the child is 5 and with a Birthday book, it’s never too late to start!
So those are some of my ideas about connecting with your children. I’d love to hear what happens in your family. Do add a comment below and let me know!