The habit of building Parent/Child relationships

I have to have practical. It’s the way I work. This applies to many things in our home. It has to be easy. Otherwise… it usually won’t happen.

My need for practical is especially true in communication. Specifically, one-on-one time with children. How in the world is it possible to have a special time with each child in a brimming, busy household? Kendra pointed out one example in her post, Divide and Conquer. I love this! Daddy brings a child along on an errand. But what about mom? You’d think a homeschool mom would be able to spend a great deal of individual time with each child. Well, as a family grows and calendar squares fill, that becomes more difficult to do.

We have found a few easy, practical ways to cultivate parent-child relationships. We don’t do all these all the time but practice each as the occasion arises. Some are intentionally-planned, some spontaneous.

Go on a walk. This sounds so simple but is often the most effective. Mom and Dad take turns with children on a short neighborhood walk. You’ll be surprised how much your son or daughter has to say! Mom can do this with older children after the younger ones go to bed. Maybe with an early riser before Dad leaves for work.

Family Circles. A simple wheel to turn each day. Tailor it to your family. The wheel offers ideas for each parent to spend individual time with a child. There is even a Husband/Wife wheel! “This little kit combined with your resolve, could change the whole atmosphere of your home.” Click over to Doorposts to read all about it.

Journals. This works both ways. For me, I so often think of something I should have said or something I want to ask, after all are in bed and my mind is clear. Or I remember a child’s kindness that I need to write a quick praise about. For my daughter, sometimes it is easier for her to write down an idea or question in the journal rather than ask her harried mother during the clamor of the day 🙂 I also like the Bible verses and inspirational sayings on each page.

I picked up one of these journals a year and a half ago on a book store date night. It sits on the family room end table so my eldest daughter and I can take turns writing. I found another journal for me and middle girl.

But communication doesn’t even need to be in journals. I also have little, small spiral notepads in a different color for each child. I still use these for the boys and youngest girl.

Just Mom & Me/Just Dad & Me Tear Out, Punch Out Books by American Girl. Fun ideas for activities to do together.

The simplest one we’ve had the most fun with is in this book is a Tag You’re It. Just tear the ready-made activities out of the book. It gets to be a challenge to hide the bright pink tag in a place neither of you have thought of before! We also enjoy the little tear-out ideas to fill up a jar.

Just last week we picked up the Dad & Me book to give Hodgepodgedad. With Kerri’s idea of husband/wife journal, someone we love will have a great Father’s Day.

Bathroom Chalkboard. And along the lines of Kerri’s most personal post, we also have a way of communicating in the master bathroom. Several years ago we spray-painted a chalkboard. You can tell it was done with a spray can of chalkboard paint. Someday I’m going to paint a pretty frame around it 🙂 Originally just for me and my husband for the purpose of leaving silly, sappy messages for each other.

Now the children have started using the chalkboard too. That room is often the last stop before bedtime. On that chalkboard, I’ve been the recipient of both love notes and apologies. The verse from Ephesians also hangs in that master bath.

Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Ephesians 4:26

I encourage you to pick one or two communication ideas that interest you. These are easy and practical to implement!

Your turn. Do you do any of these? Please share a practical way you build relationships with your children.

Related: Practical Prayer