One day back in June, Jonah got a phone call from a friend inviting him and the boys to go camping. Of course they were thrilled and jumped at the chance to go. Well, let me tell you, after our camping trip in March (also known as winter around here), the boys had fun and were living it up in style, Glamping, at Fort Rodd Hill.
There are challenges in every family and I have noticed that one of the things I really have to work hard at is finding that special one on one time with each child. With some of the children it is easier than with others. I have a few that will come and snuggle when they know they need it, but I have others who don’t know how to ask for what they need.
I have been thinking a lot about how to meet the needs of each of the children and how to balance the attention that is going around. I am learning to make sure that the time spent with each child is meaningful and the proper fuel for their love tank.
Here is what I am learning:
Know their interests
Know how they receive love
Do things that are important to them
Make eye contact
Tie heart strings
1. Know Their Interests
I really need to know the interests of each of my children. To do this, I need to pay attention to them. Close attention. I have a few of my kids nailed down on their interests, but there are others that I need to watch more closely to figure them out.
2. Know How They Receive Love
I need to observe them and watch the things that make them happy. How does each child best receive love? What actions on my part will help to fill their love tank through out the day? This is no easy task when you have five completely different children.
3. Be Creative
I tend to have all these amazing ideas in my head and they just float around in there. I need to take the time to be creative with the kids and not just leave all those fabulous ideas in my head because that really doesn’t benefit anyone up there.
4. Do Things That Are Important To Them
The most meaningful moments spent with my children are when I drop everything do the things that are important to them. I have to watch for moments and I need to do more of this.
5. Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is so important. I need to make the effort to look each child in the eye and connect with them as many times a day as possible. Life moves so fast around here sometimes that the answers are quick and it’s all a blur (we are working on slowing down around here – we need to move to the countryside).
6. Tie Heart Strings
I am feeling the need to tie a few more heartstrings with each of my children these days. Take moment and read a post that I wrote a long time ago for The Mob Society, Trying Their Heartstrings.Hint: there are more crazy pictures.
It is an interesting journey exploring each of my children and thinking about the best way to meet their needs. Each child is so unique and different that it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the best way to connect with them, but I have found different ways to connect with each of my them. It is a daily process making sure that each child has what they need from me.
It can be so easy to go through the motions and just tending to the day as it unfolds, but I am trying to be more purposeful about my interactions with each child, so that no one slips through the cracks and ends up with an empty love tank. It can be easy to get swept up in the drama of the child with autism or the whiny three year old and miss something very important in one of the others.
Making time for everyone in a large family is not easy, but there is grace, loads of it for the times when I mess up or fall short.
How do you make sure each of your children gets what they need from you everyday?
In my email this week was a lovely article by Heather from Marine Corps Nomads about Tying Heartstrings. In her post Heather makes mention of the movie, “Siblings: Heartstrings,” which was created by a homeschool family. I had not heard of it before and will definitely be checking it out.
All of that to say I was reminded of an article that I wrote for The M.O.B. Society called, Tying Their Heartstrings. If you haven’t read it yet, please hop over and check it out. There are some great pictures of my kids in the post.