Have you ever had a teacher or a boss or someone in your life who just kind of barked orders at you? Someone who was really good at pointing out your mistakes? Someone who wasn’t super open to hearing your ideas about how something could be done, rather it was their way or the highway? Someone you just didn’t connect with very well?
How did it feel to work with, or for, that person? Did you feel cared for as a human being? Did you want to do what they asked of you? If it was a teacher, did you retain any of the information they forced on you?
Now what about people in your life who have genuinely cared for you? Teachers or coaches or a boss who went out of their way to compliment you, listen to your ideas and give you encouragement? How did you feel around them? What kind of work were you willing to do for them? Did you show up differently for these people than for those who didn’t treat you as well?
What about your kids? How do they show up for you each day? Do they resist doing their school work? Do they fight with each other? Do they forget what you just taught them yesterday, and the day before? And are these behaviors because of them, or because of you and how you’re showing up?
I have had to eat a lot of humble pie in my life. I thought I was a really good person. Then I had children and I found out all the things I wasn’t. I wasn’t patient, I wasn’t organized, I wasn’t good at keeping my frustrations in check. I could continue that list, but you get the idea. And as my children got older, I started to see my weaknesses reflected back at me through their behavior. Some of it is good, certainly, but there’s much I wish I could get rid of.
One of the things I realized I had to work on first was that I was not great at building strong connections with my children. Which I think got worse when we started homeschooling. I was the teacher, and they should just do what I decided they should do because I said so! I knew more than they did so they should just go along with it and not complain! And guess how great those days were. . .
If you don’t have connection, first and foremost, your children will never soar to the heights they could otherwise. More important than math or reading or anything else is how you treat and connect with your kiddos. If they know they are loved and are more important than getting the school work done or than having the house clean or anything else, they will work hard for you, they will have joy in the journey, and they will retain what they’re learning from you.
So how do you build a strong connection with your kids? Honestly, I’d love your input because I’m still such a work in progress. Some mothers are naturally fantastic at this and I watch them in awe. So give me your tips! I’ll share some of mine.
- We make time to pray together and study scripture together. Growing closer to God brings us closer to each other.
- I ask questions and listen, including them in decisions regarding what they’re studying and how.
- I apologize when I mess up and talk about my feelings and why I acted he way I did.
- I compliment my children and tell them I’m so happy to be their mom.
- I pray FOR them each individually and try to follow promptings I get about each of them.
- I make time to play with them, read to them, and do the things that they like and think are important.
Like I said, I’m a work in progress. But what a difference it has made to prioritize better connection with my children over getting school work done or getting house work done or anything else. The time we have with them is so short. I want them to look back with fondness on their homeschool years.
So how do you connect with your kiddos? I want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments! We learn together on this homeschool journey!