Starting the new school year sure has all feels, doesn’t it? One thing is for sure; The start of a new school year can be stressful. High demands for parents with childcare, transportation, after school activities, packed weekends, binders, color coated school supplies, exactly 4 yellow sharpies… I mean, you know the drill. At the start of school, we all may feel exhausted and excited at the same time. With all of the “to-dos” there can be a multitude of emotions- from parents and kids alike! These feelings, to name a few, can include excitement, sadness, worry, anxiousness, confusion, and avoidance. To be quite honest, deciphering those mixed emotions can be tricky. In addition to that, the time we have with our children is limited and we can feel constrained.
I have heard some say that the world we live in today seems to be on a cotton candy diet. Consumed by sugar; and no matter how much you eat you want more, because there are no substantial nutrients. Kids are faced with distractions in every corner. Whether its gaming, social media, or interacting with friends through their phone, just to name a few. Many of these distractions are like cotton candy; not much is being gained nutrient wise, but consuming the distractions, may cause us to lack forward growth.
To all those parents out there, your kids are watching you and testing the idea of unconditional love. They absorb the way you communicate and utilize your time. Your kids are aching to be seen, heard, loved, and accepted. Free yourself up to be present with your children. Your presence and love is such a gift to them, and a security booster. Supporting their events and supporting your child’s social integration goes far in the life of your child.
A simple, but of course not perfect way of looking at connecting with our children is considering a plant. The plant requires nutrients to aid in flourishing, but not all plants need the same essentials. Each individual plant has different needs that need to be met or the plant will become weak, sick, overwhelmed, or even wither away. Relationships require similar attention.
Gary Chapman introduced the world to the concept of various connecting styles in his book called The Five Love Languages. Love can be given and received in 5 ways: physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and gifts. Chapman shares that in order to flourish, love is given and received differently. Some plants thrive off an abundance of light, some shrivel up with too much while others need more water than others. Metaphorically speaking, so is human connection. Some individuals receive love through spending time with mom or dad and there are some who just need to sit next to you with an arm around you while watching a movie. Your child’s love language can be a way for you to care, communicate, and grow with your kiddo.
Parents, want to change the world? Start at the dinner table. Create dinner as a sanctuary time. Have Mondays as a family movie night. Make a tradition to get connected with your people! We live in an ever-so-busy world. Don’t focus on just putting the dishes away, focus on putting the dishes away with your kiddo if their love language is quality time! If your kids love language is words of affirmation, leave notes around the house reminding them the light they bring to this world. If their love language is gifts, maybe try giving them an experience with you, like gifting them with a box of brownies you can make together... Let's start this school year together, intentionally seeking out our kids and becoming connected with them (:
If you are wanting more information about the 5 love languages, curious on your love language, or you want your kid to identify their love language, here is a link. (: