” Have you been spending time alone with him?”
This was my friend’s wise question after a few frustrating incidents with my boys.
Then I realised it’s been moons ago since I had a fun mum and son time only with A. From then on, I set apart time regularly with him – One and a half hour lunchtime being set apart weekly for A. Joy and contentment were written all over his face on our first date! He gobbled down his half foot Subway. Then I had my Kway Teow soup while he continued his cookie delight. He also used his extra pocket money to buy cookies for siblings.
That was last mid year. This year, with J promoted to Primary 1, the weekly dates became fortnightly dates with each boy. They take turns to have lunch out with me. J was mighty proud to be in P1 and our outing was greatly anticipated by J. He was highly excited and asked me loads of questions during our bus ride after our Subway lunch (yes they love subway mainly for the cookies). When i tried to grab a bite in the bus, he wanted to report me to the uncle driver while giving me a cheeky chuckle!
With such special ties with my boys, how could I forget my girl right? This year my girl has an uninterrupted morning session with me after the boys disappear to school. I do a bit of phonics and just read a lot to her. I imagine such a routine would be sufficient until I started going earlier for work, curtailing my time with her. With my struggles and (click HERE to read my dilemma of work and Family struggles) to compensate for going earlier to work recently, I planned a reading routine picnicking outdoors! E read her choice of books and I even related how papa n mama met (inspired by the storybook). I know she appreciates it when i hear ‘today is a special day’ tune on repeat mode after shower.
Last week E was disappointed with the wet morning since she was so looking forward to her weekly outdoor picnic. I consoled her and suggested we could have it indoors with her tent set up. I had the lovely roses from Valentines Day, and we got down to work. Within moments, we had the most enchanting picnic indoors with some imagination and homely furnishing! Sometimes, it takes a bit of imagination and effort to make our dreams come true? That morning, I left with a full heart and left a girl with a full tummy and a cheerful hug.
Another practice that I reintroduced was our nightly chit chat times with the kids. In the past, I spend before bedtime allowing each kid 3 questions excluding E (who was still young). After a while, it became too tedious and I stopped.
This year, I decided on a more practical approach where each child will get a good 10-15mins of chit chat time before bed with me. For example, A was a Monday night, J on Tuesday and E chatted on a Wednesday and so on.
One night, A turned into a questioning machine sparking off many interesting queries. ‘What cartoons, books, games do you like to play when young? What’s your favourite subject in school?’
‘ Huh, not art???(he sounded disappointed that my answer was English and Creative Writing) Why are you an art teacher and you don’t like art?’
Me: ‘ I didn’t say i don’t like. I said it’s not my favourite and also partly because art is boring in the past. Teacher only ask me to paint banana, tree barks, soaps…. unlike now where mama teach you so many stuffs?!’
More questions were left unanswered as time was up and he had to turn in for bed. I thought to myself ‘Ah boy, you’re testing Ma’s poor memory..seriously, I realised I can’t recall MANY of my ‘favourites…..Many I don’t know…..tomorrow then answer you.’
There are many other instances of new discoveries, hilarious jokes and pleasant surprises during our chit chat sessions cum Set apart times. Somehow, it is when I take the time and pay full attention to my One Individual child that I discover the intimate connection developing. My understanding and appreciation of each child deepens. It took a different direction from being the ‘teaching’ mum or a mere caregiver to a parent who enjoys and does silly or fun things without any agenda. The boys’ favourite activity is to tell me the jokes recalled from their Young Scientists mags and from professional joke books! All these silly jokes plays a big part in healthy endorphin filled bonding between mum and sons. : )
There are many ways to improve our relationship with our children or any other loved ones.
- First and foremost, we must MAKE TIME by SETTING APART a specific time regularly with each child in order for a long standing relationship to be nurtured. I strongly feel that one way is to reduce electronic times. Read Why i-pad is a far bigger threat than 10 years ago.
- I have been doing as shared in this post, 1 to 1 time and bedtime chats. In 3 Ways to connect with your kids, she added journaling between parent and child. This is a whole level of interaction! I will try it when the boys are more adept in writing.
- Read 30 Questions to ask your kids instead of How Is Your Day and The Key Jar. Just print out the questions, cut them into strips for a dip and ask time!
- Those who love cooking will enjoy the Kitchen Connection.
- Search for your old photo albums and start sharing about your adventures, history and reminisce your past.
- Tell silly jokes
- Create a story and ask your child to continue the ending.
- Shop till you drop!
The list goes on!
Do you need to spend some Heart to Heart (1 to 1) time with a loved one? Especially families with more than one child?
Do you have more ideas that I can tap on? Please share! If you do try the above, let me know how it went for you and your child!
For more Hearty Bits of stories, click HERE.
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