By Janet Lund
There are many ways to communicate your love for your kids. One of the most powerful ways to communicate “I love you” to your child is to get involved in their world. Often as adults, we become so busy in our own world that we forget the importance of taking a rocket ship ride into theirs.
Practicing this daily will not only be a great way to get to know your child and nurture your relationship, but it also sets you up for a smoother ride through the teen years.
How do you enter your child’s orbit and make a smooth landing onto their planet regularly? You can do this in a variety of ways. Hold onto your moon boots, we are coming in for landing!
Three ways to enter your child’s world:
1) Listen to them share about their daily activities. Inquire and encourage them to share more by saying, “Tell me more about that.” Showing your child you are interested in learning about their world and what is important to them means so much. This is a wonderful way to say, “I love you and care about what you care about.”
2) Attend their activities. Taking time out of your day to be with your child as they are involved in their activities says to them, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world!”
3) Participate in their passions. Now of course, you can’t just jump onto the soccer field and join your child’s team when they are playing, but there are other ways you can participate in what they are doing. When it comes to sports, you can practice with them at home. If you haven’t a clue how to play the game, have them teach you. This again communicates, “What matters to you matters to me – even if I look ridiculous trying!”
My own journey
Just an FYI, the years go by so much faster than you think they will. When senior year in high school begins, you’ll find yourself saying, “Wait a minute, how did we get here?” I remember during my daughter’s senior year in high school, there was a snow day. So, even though I had work to do, I said, “Forget this! I am taking a snow day!” I spent the whole day playing in the snow with her. We made some great memories.
After she left for college, I knew that when she came home for her Christmas breaks, I wanted to take advantage of our time together and do the things she was most passionate about. These were not things I was very good at, but I decided it didn’t matter, because she loved them. Here are three examples:
Out of the comfort zone, into the Twilight Zone!
First, our daughter has always loved drawing and she is exceptionally good at it. During her first Christmas break from college, I ventured to sit beside her and try my hand at drawing. We both looked at a picture and then drew it. She taught me some of the skills she learned over the years from the different classes she attended while growing up. Jessica knew I felt more like the Queen of Stick Figures than Pablo Picasso, but I did it anyway. Years later, she still talks about those days of drawing side-by-side.
Second, as you may already know, Jessica became a published author at age 17 under the pen-name Taylor Hunter. The next year when she was home from college, she posted on her Taylor Hunter Facebook page some blogs to encourage writers. She provided a one-sentence writing prompt to inspire them to write a short story. I could tell she was extremely excited, and she encouraged me to give it a go. So, I read the prompt and gave it a whirl. When I was done, I read it out loud to her. The look in her eyes was priceless. She was so proud of me and touched that I had given it a try.
Finally, last November, Jessica was a newly graduated engineer; her evenings were free of homework. This provided her the opportunity to join her dad, Joel – a.k.a. Brandon King – in the grand adventure of the 2019 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose?” So, I decided to give it a try, too. Jessica immediately jumped in – she helped me set up my special NaNoWriMo dashboard and made me a cover for my book – and on November 1st, all three of us took off on our quest.
I was totally out of my comfort zone. I kept asking my two award-winning authors questions. Time and again, I told them that I didn’t know what I was doing. They both smiled, nodded, and said, “Yep, that’s writing! Keep going!” So I did.
When all three of us crossed the finish line of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, my mind was blown. We were so excited for each other’s accomplishments and the fact we had done it together. It’s one of those memories our family will never forget.
Stop and think about it
Participating in activities that my daughter loves has meant the world to her. I could tell then, and I can tell now by the twinkle in her eyes when we talk about them.
What does your child love? How can you jump in and join them in their passions? Yes, this may push you out of your comfort zone, but you know what? Your actions will have “I love you!” written all over them. Your child may not immediately say, “Wow, I am going to remember this forever!” but the memories you make together will stay with them. Don’t be surprised when one day your child looks at you with a twinkle in their eyes as they take you on a walk down memory lane.
Get out there. Step out of your comfort zone. Enter your child’s world!
Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speaking, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and visit her website at momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.