In between been a mom and a WAHM (work at home), I have often felt flustered by the list of to-do things, yet knowing fully well that creating time for my son is of paramount importance. In the grand scheme of things, I know too well that the today’s laundry will not matter in a month; neither will the pile of dirty dishes on the sink.
What matters this year, and the next, and the one after that, is that I spend ample quality time with my son. In the recent few days I have purposely sought to find simple ways to bond with my son. This bonding, even on those hard days when he is balancing tears and I, a heavy heart is still a work-in-progress. Here are simple tips that I have found work for me.
- Waking up un-rushed, and spending the first few moments of the day together
I am slowly learning that how I wake up pretty sets the tone of the day for the rest of my son’s days. For this reason, I remind myself to wake up early ([o that I am not whizzing through the morning preparing him from school) and smile at the gift of the day. When he wakes up, we hug, say a prayer and I give him a piggy ride downstairs. This simple set of events, I realized, makes all the difference; because on days when we do not have our little morning ritual, the day is off to a chaotic start. So make the best of those first five minutes parents 🙂
- Cooking together
Although in my case, it is more of I cook and he eats, hah! Making chapati or pancakes (crepes) with my son is one of my favorite ways to bond with him. With the former especially, he takes some of the dough and a rolling pin and he is off to make his own chapatis. When my set of chapatis is ready, his gleeful self and gargantuan appetite will come smiling at me. In the end, one chapati down and black dough is all he has to show, but oh how these bonding experiences bless my heart.
- Doing homework together
Last year, the head teacher where my son schools called for a parents’ meeting as the term drew to a close. On arrival, I couldn’t help but notice that quite a number of the parents were relatively young (late twenties, early thirties – it is a new school close to home, and I chose it for reasons you can read here). Interestingly, some of those in attendance were the school kids’ siblings.
The head teacher’s turn to speak eventually came. One of the most amazing nuggets she shared with us was, bonding with the kids after school. She emphasized the need to take time to do homework with the kids, as and when it is possible seeing as most parents worked in town and got home late. Having the opportunity to work online from home, this was a no-brainer for me.
Since that talk, I made up my mind to always do homework with my little guy every time I was home. Giving wholly undivided attention communicates that his education is important and that helping him with his homework is too. In a world of online connection 24/7, I make a point of switching off my phone, so that I am not juggling between Whatsapp messages, creative writing and doodling homework, #trending topics and colouring all at once!
- Asking ‘leading’ questions as evening sets in
Kids are pretty imaginative, and you would be amazed the kind of answers they have or things that go through their heads. Some of the questions that get me the most interesting answers from my son include:
- What/who made you smile today?
- What/Who angered you or made you feel bad about yourself?
- What would you like to tell Jesus tonight?
Side note: The last question sometime last week made me tear. See, L’s baby (she of the baby shower) has a heart condition which requires surgical intervention next month. My son is sad that L’s baby is not well. That particular day his answer to #3 was to ask Jesus to heal baby G’s heart so they would play together sometime soon. Oh, his faith!
Part of the bonding process with the three questions is accepting whichever way they choose to answer the questions. The power of this act lies in its simplicity, and you will be amazed at just how much you can learn from your child this way.
- Reading stories
Reading together is an amazing bonding experience simply because it means been present. Whether I am reading his story books, bedtime stories or Bible stories, it gives great joy to bond this way. I also noticed that whenever I sit down for some personal reading, this piques his interest and he will often come to sit next to me.
- Spending time outdoors
My son is the personification of a nuclear energy plant in a mammal. Containing him within four walls makes him restless, which is why spending time outdoors works for both of us. He loves to run around, kick stones, collect flowers and leaves, stare at clouds… As a nature-lover, this experience is always welcome as it helps me clear my mind too.
These are just some of the ways I bond with my child. How do you bond with your child on a regular basis? What works for you? What common activities do you enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. You can also link with me on Facebook and Twitter.
Update: L’s baby had a successful open heart surgery, is making an excellent recovery. All glory to God!!