It’s amazing how a day spent with my girls, giving them my undivided attention and playing with them, can make such a big difference in their responsiveness to me. I am sure that the same applies to all other children who get quality and quantity time with their parents.
My daughters and I had a whole day’s shoot for Friso, a milk brand we are endorsers for, and the story boards revolved around bonding activities together. We did scrapbooking, food prepping, and dressing to frolic in the rain, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It didn’t feel like work. More importantly, they felt like this was girls’ time. We engaged one another. I wasn’t distracted by my phone or other priorities. It was just the three of us having fun together since the boys were with their dad.
By the end of that long day, which I thought would have surely worn them out, the girls were still energized. They tailed me wherever I went. All they wanted to do was to be with me and hang out with me. I thought by then they would have had enough of me but the very opposite was true, especially for my older daughter, Tiana. She was like, “What are we going to do now, mom? Can we do more scrapbooking?”
The other sweet thing I noticed was how affectionate Tiana was that evening. (Catalina is naturally a hugger.) Tiana, however, tends to be more economized with her affections. Yet that night, she hugged and put her arms around me spontaneously, multiple times.
Although I have known the very obvious connection between time and influence for many years through experience and research (as many parents do), I too often ignore that time holds such power to unlock the hearts of our kids. I get busy, even as a homeschool mom who spends each day with her kids.
However, being around doesn’t count as much as being present in each moment with my kids. There is no substitute for it. Nourished and secure children have parents who are both physically and emotionally present.
When parents ask me, “What do I do about my child who isn’t listening? Or “How do I reach out to my son who doesn’t tell me what’s going on inside?” There are countless other questions similar in nature that basically speak of a parents’ desire to connect with their emotionally distant child. I can’t think of a better solution than to say…
Spend time with your child. Don’t have a secret agenda that makes your intentions for bonding with them suspect. Just enjoy their company and let them enjoy yours. Do this consistently over a period of time and a magical thing will happen. Your child will willingly give you his or her heart.