Hi my friends! Every year when November hits we are lambasted by all things holiday. From Thanksgiving to Christmas there is no shortage of places to go, things to do and family to visit. It can be fun and special, but can leave us feeling exhausted at the end of the day. I thought this would be a fantastic time to share some great encouragement and tips on how to stay connected to your family this season!
Connection is the key that keeps our family constantly growing together and moving towards each other, rather than just living and coexisting in the same house. When everyone is connected, things run a lot smoother. When I am connected to my kids, they naturally want to please me, and I have a lot more patience toward them!
I will be posting over the next several days the Keys to C.O.N.N.E.C.T. that I have found helpful in my family. I hope that you are encouraged and find these tips helpful!
The first key is communication. This might be an obvious place to start, but I feel that it is one of the most important keys to building and maintaining connection, both with your spouse and your children. When we are not communicating, we have no real idea what the other person is thinking or feeling, even though we may subconsciously assume we do. One Christmas I was thankful to be able to spend a lot of time with my husband, yet the day after Christmas I just felt so disconnected from him. As it turned out, we hadn’t actually had a chance over the holiday to talk or share what was in our hearts because we were so busy preparing for hosting family and getting ready for the big day. I started getting easily agitated with him. It’s easy for me to be unkind in my actions toward Justin when I’m not feeling connected, and therefore I didn’t honestly care how he was feeling. Thankfully, I was able to quickly realize what was going on, and just asked him if we could sit down and talk. It’s amazing what an hour of focused attention can do. It’s always best to do this with no cell phones and limited distraction. You may need to wait for the kids to be in bed, but put the effort in. It is well worth it! Talking with each other (and listening too) cannot be over emphasized. Having a good talk and really sharing from your heart can go such a long way.
Communicating With Kids
As far as communicating with your kids, they need to know how important they are to you! This can be difficult at times because kids do not know how to express their feelings and may be acting out in certain ways and not even have a clue why. Getting to the root of the problem can take some serious pressing in and creativity, as well as asking the right questions. A few years ago, my oldest daughter, Chai, who LOVES learning, had decided that she didn’t want to go to school anymore. This really caught me off guard and I tried plenty of things to get her to change her mind. This momma is not above a bribe! The thing was, I knew there was something going on under the surface but couldn’t figure it out. I decided to sit down with her and start asking her questions. They started out silly, but after a while we got to the real matter. There was one time that I couldn’t pick up Chai until a few minutes after some of her classmates had been picked up, and during that time, she thought I wasn’t coming to get her. I remember that moment at school and wouldn’t have thought anything about being a few minutes late, (mom life – am I right?) but that moment made her feel insecure and scared of being at school. Communicating to find out the root of the problem was so important. I could have just assumed any of the normal reasons that kids don’t like school were to blame, moved on, and forced her to go. We probably would have fought a battle every week if I did that, but taking the time to hear what was in her heart let me understand what she was really feeling, and we worked together to make a plan so that she wouldn’t feel that way again. That built trust in our relationship and showed her that I’m on her side and that she is valuable to me.
It is important to listen to what our kids are saying to us. It’s easy to do other things while they are talking, but getting down on their level and showing them that what they are saying is important to us is key. When our kids are younger, it may look like sitting on the floor, looking them in the eye and giving them our full attention. When they are older, it may look like taking them out for lunch to get away from distractions and being available to listen. If you show them from a young age that what they are saying is important, it builds open communication lines for when they grow and have heavier things to talk about.
I encourage you to take some time to connect with your family by way of communication. After you do, I would love to hear about it! Let me know if you learned something new or if you have any other experiences communicating that you’d like to share!
Continue on to the next installment of the Keys to C.O.N.N.E.C.T.!
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