The Ray of Hope team looks forward to h’ART of a Child every year. It is such a positive, joyful event with so many community kids and parents. Last weekend’s event was no exception. h’ART is wonderful for our area families, but, selfishly, it is wonderful for us too. When our team sees and hears the dark places of child abuse every week, seeing the joy and excitement that takes place at h’ART is a breath of fresh air.
We all know that kids can test patience and be difficult at times. Relishing in the positive moments and learning how to make the most out of your time with the children around you can help build a mutually loving, enjoyable relationship. Some quick tips we have learned and found helpful include:
- Put down your cell phone. We know, we know – it’s HARD! But spending dedicated, quality time with children requires your full attention. Kids notice if you are distracted and not fully engaged. So set aside some time to be fully present with them.
- Let them lead. Ask them what they would like to do or play and take some time to step into your children’s world. Just be in the moment with them. Ask questions about what they are doing without giving advice or input. You will learn more about how your children think and help them feel valued. If you are on a walk, let them choose the path. If you are making up a game, let them craft some of the rules. If you are solving a problem, let them find their solution. While it may not always be the easiest or most efficient route, have patience and celebrate them where they are. You may get a pretty good laugh out of it too!
- Get outside. With spring here and summer fast approaching, it is a great time to get outside with your kids. Play in the backyard, take a walk, head to a local park, go on a hike or explore Pathfinder Parkway. Sometimes getting out of your house and away from household responsibilities helps all of you relax and have a little more fun. Best part? All of these activities are free.
- As anyone knows, building a positive relationship has ups and downs. But a consistently important factor is listening. Kids have voices and deserve to be heard. Whether it’s a funny story from school or their vote for dinner, knowing you listen to the small things helps them develop trust when they need to talk about bigger issues.