New York City, November 2011
Are you feeling super connected to your kids? One of the best ways to stay connected is to start with the natural opportunities life provides us with.
Life provides us with natural greeting times: morning, after naps, pick up time from school, during playtime when your kids wander off and then come back to you and any other time when you haven’t seen your child for a bit and you re-connect.
“…a greeting should collect the eyes, a smile and a nod.” -Gordon Neufeld, PhD, in his book Hold On To Your Kids
Make those moments as special as you can— take the time to lock eyes, to smile, and say something light to which they can agree. You can touch, feel how they are doing, make it clear that you are there for them. “It’s so good to see you.” “Looks like you did some painting today!” “I missed you today.” “I saw you were Tommy’s partner on the way downstairs”… the point is you are saying something that just reminds your child that you are seeing him/her– you’re not asking, interviewing about the day, or by any means saying something negative. Even if you see something that might seem off– your child pushing, or a ripped shirt, or a missing lunchbox: these can be addressed, but after you re-connect.
What if I’m in a rush? Especially if you are in a rush, take that first moment with your child as calmly as you can. Then, with your body still calm, remind your child, “Today is a speedy day, remember? We need to get right to music (or soccer, or gymnastics)…” This should make things easier– you had a grounding moment, a plan, and now you are off together (you could even be “Team Speedy” if you think something cute like that might help streamline your experience).