In this age of emails and text messages I find that the art of communicating is being lost. Facebook and Twitter have made conversation almost non-existent as everything anyone could ever want to know is splashed across statuses. Too often we spend more time in front of the computer than in communicating with our children. Even children are spending their time in front of computers/tablets/ipods/ipads, now.
Lately I’ve been feeling the need to communicate more with my child. And I’m not talking sit him on my lap and have a conversation. There are so many other ways of communicating love to a child than just by talking. And, let’s face it, a 2 year old doesn’t really get much when you sit down and try to have a conversation with him! He’ll probably be more interested in the buttons on my shirt or that toy over in the corner.
Today I want to share some of different ways of communicating with children (that even I can work on!) and at the end I’m sharing a free printable that you can use for Valentines Day (or whenever you want really).
1. Pray with them. I think this is monumental in communicating with children. Since I’ve started praying with Little Man I have seen his heart really soften towards the Lord and church. At his young age I want him to understand what a real relationship with the Lord is like. And you should hear the things he prays for all on his own! It’s a really sweet time for us together.
2. Play with them. No, I’m not going to alliterate all of them (grin). I read somewhere once that children feel more loved and accepted by their parents when moms and dads spend just 20 minutes of one on one time with them each day. 20 minutes! That, seriously, is nothing when you consider how many minutes are in a 24 hour day. I bet we lose that amount just checking Facebook once a day.
3. Love your husband. Your children need to see you spending time with your mate. That communicates so much to them! Let them see you sit together on the couch, hold hands, kiss, etc. Knowing that you love each other will communicate your love to your child as well.
4. Discipline them. This is not a very popular topic in our world today. However, children need rules. And they need to know that you love them enough to discipline them when they don’t follow the rules. Hebrews 12:6 tells us that God loves us enough to chasten us. Love disciplines. Children will respect you if you are consistent and often will disobey just to get attention, even if it’s the wrong kind!
5. Listen to them. I don’t have time as a mother to sit with my child on my lap all day and let him talk to me. However, Little Man will often come and tell me things (whether or not I understand him) while I’m working around the house. And he knows when I’m not actually paying attention to him. His voice gets louder and louder and he repeats himself over and over until I fully give him my attention. As women, we do have the gift of multi-tasking and it’s not that difficult to give your child your attention while continuing to wash dishes or fold laundry.
6. Send them messages. I love sending notes to people. My children, however, are not old enough to read, therefore it would be a little silly on my part to send them a hand written note. For older children this would be great, though (remember the mailbox idea from last week’s Valentines Round-up?). I still have some notes that my mom left under my pillow when I was growing up. However, there are many neat ideas of ways you can “send a message” to younger children. Especially around Valentines Day!
a. Make a badge for them to wear. You can make it look like a war medal, a sheriffs badge, or an athlete’s medal (Olympics start tomorrow!). Just put the simple word, Loved, on it and tell your child what it says (or another word that you like). I can guarantee they will be so proud to go around wearing it and show it off to Daddy when he comes from work.
b. Use your child’s name to make a mural on the wall. In October, we had a Thanksgiving Tree on our wall. The falling leaves (our handprints) held the things we were thankful for each day. I had Little Man’s name on one leaf and he knew it! He loved that his name was up on the wall and would point it out to people. No, he can’t read. He just knew which leaf had his name on it. Something simple will mean the world to them!
c. Decorate their bedroom doors so they get to run through something fun when they wake up in the morning. And we come down to the free printable I’m sending your way. I’ve seen this done for birthdays, but I decided to do this for Valentines Day this year. Owls was our theme for Little Miss so I made a set of pink and purple owls for girls and a set of blue and red for boys. I can’t wait for Little Man to wake up to this next week!
I made my owls bigger for the purpose of the picture. They are smaller and I would space them farther apart. The hearts have little messages on them. Little Man’s “song” that we’ve shared since his birth is, You Are My Sunshine, so that is on one heart. And we love the book by Robert Munsch, I’ll Love You Forever, so I used the phrase, “My baby you’ll be.” on one heart. Another heart says “Love”, and a fourth says, “Be Mine”. I left a few blank so you can add your own phrase/note, or just leave them blank. Just click the links below to download the set you’d like to use! I also made one set just black and white so if you don’t have colour ink for your printer and want different colours you can personalize them to your taste. Just print off as many pages as you’d like. Cut out the pictures. And attach them to yarn. It’s as simple as that!
Communicating with your children is very important. Are there other ways you communicate to your child? I’d love to add my list. Please leave me a comment below!