Less buying, more being: 11 small ways to really connect with your child
I sometimes think that we – my generation – have somehow managed to turn motherhood into some sort of competition.
Social media and the obsession with comparing ourselves to others plays a large part, no doubt, but we are all helping fuel the problem.
Who can dress their kids in the coolest outfits, who can bake the most sensational and OTT birthday cakes, who can cram the most after-school activities into any given week, who can pack the cleanest and organic and super-foody-y lunchboxes – and on and on it goes.
This unspoken competition, by the way, often fuelled by social media, is most often with other mums, and not so much at all about impressing your kids.
Because children, being children, are less concerned about whether their mum slaved over their birthday cake watching Youtube video after Youtube video on how to get the decorations just right – or just picked up a really cool one in Tesco.
What we often forget these days, I think, it's that children actually don't require much at all in order to feel happy and special and safe and loved.
Want to put on a smile on your child's face – at no costs at all other than your time?
Here are 11 little gestures I have found may seem trivial to us adults, but that will absolutely mean a lot to children – it sure does to mine:
11 ways to connect with your children
1. Say "yes" to something usually off-limits, like watching a movie before homework or having a treat on a Monday.
2. Get out the glitter glue and do messy crafts.
3. Crank up the music in the car and have a loud sing-song. We are currently belting out the Coco soundtrack – in very bad Spanish.
4. Cultivate your own family rituals and traditions: Taco Tuesdays, Pizza Fridays, Sunday-afternoon hikes etc.
5. Go ahead: Let your 4-year-old stomp in every puddle along the way.
6. Have a day out with just one child. The one-on-one will mean the world to them.
7. Curl up in bed and watch an entire movie together, no distractions.
8. Print out pictures so you can actually look at physical photos together.
9. Sleep in the play tent in the garden with them – or, at least, try to.
10 Invite their friends over and let them know you love having their little friends around.
11. Bake something with them – messy kitchens only take moments to clean up, but the memories? They'll last forever.