In today’s world of distractions, it’s more difficult than ever to connect with our kids. We lead ridiculously busy lives. Between school runs, extra-curricular activities, madrassa runs, homework, dinner time, bath time, bed time; there is precious time left for quality time with our children. But a quality interaction, need not be something that requires hours. Don’t fret over how many minutes you have spent with your child. Instead, focus on creating memorable moments. For instance, two hours spent at the cinema, will form less of a connection with the young child than two minutes of wholehearted conversation, during which you learnt something about each other.
Here are some powerful ways to connect with your child, which will build memories that he/she will carry into adulthood in sha Allah:
Make dua together
Making dua is usually a personal experience. However, it can be a wonderfully beautiful opportunity to connect with your spouse or child, because the other person is exposed to how raw and vulnerable you are in that moment. They are invited into your world, into your conversation with Allah. They hear about the things that matter to you the most; the things that you ask for in that time. Bring your child close when you do this, perhaps even hold their hands in yours as you lift them for dua. Also, alternate between you and your child being the one to make the dua.
Don’t drive everywhere
If you can ditch the car when you need to get somewhere nearby with your child – do it! Walking forces you to slow down the pace of the day, allowing for moments of calm, which leads the mind to wander. Your child will definitely share where their mind has wandered to, with you. This is priceless, and leads to heartfelt and honest conversations.
Leave each other notes
Let’s be honest, we all love finding hand-written notes. Leave such notes for your child to discover, with sentiments of love or just plain fun! Kids love it. It’s also a great way of showing affection if you find it hard to say things like, ‘I love you.’
As you grab the toolbox, give the kids a shout. Fixing things is fun, and learning about how to do it with your parent is a memorable experience. Whether it’s changing a tyre on the car, or painting a wall, your child will feel honoured that you trusted them enough to let them help with such an important task.
Show your weakness
It’s easy to fall into the trap of attempting to appear super human to our children, as we want to set a good example. But occasionally, admitting that we too make mistakes, feel sad, or need help, humanises us before them. It draws a certain affection from the child, because he/she realises that you also, at times, feel how they often feel. The child will take great pride in being the one to console you.
Think back to your own childhood and the best memories you have of your parents. Ponder over why those moments were great, and recreate them with your own children.