If you didn’t have kids you wouldn’t be reading this right? Well if you do have kids then you know how hard it is to be 100 % emotionally available to your kids 24/7. Goodness, we aren’t even emotionally available to ourselves all day and what if there is more than one child??
So here are my tips for being the best mom or dad you can be by being emotionally available to your kids.
Set aside regular times for the kids to talk to you
Whether this is at dinner time or when they get home for school, if the kids know that they regularly have access to you to talk about their day then they will naturally feel free to open up to you. This becomes especially valuable as they get older and have to deal with more complex emotions that could do with your years of experience and insight. I recently made the decision to not turn my teens away when they are needing to talk. This was difficult at first as I may be right in the middle of something, but nowadays they understand that there is always dinner time and evening time spent on the deck watching the sunset when they are welcome to come and lounge around and chat to me or us.
Look them in the eyes when they talk to you
When a child is telling you something it is important to look them in the eyes so they know that you are listening. It also helps you to pay close attention to their needs, subtle body language and to hear what they are actually telling you. It makes them feel that you are emotionally available to your kids.
Give your children the loving touch
I was once told that touching your children often and with supportive love really goes a long way to making them feel secure. And not that I didn’t often hold or caress my children, but I started actively giving them more hugs and strokes throughout the day. Over the years I have seen a marked difference in their behaviour towards in relation to many other children with their parents. My soon to be 14-year-old son regularly hugs me and kisses me and he knows its ok to love his mom, and in public too! Thank goodness he is not embarrassed to be around me and will talk to me for hours or snuggle in bed in the mornings. Sometimes we sit alone in the lounge and just hold each other. My 16-year-old daughter will come and still ask me to brush out her hair or enjoy a lovely back rub, all the while speaking her heart out about everything that happened in her day.
Keep track of important events and be sure to support them
Make sure to remember when something important is happening in your children’s lives and think about sending them a quick supportive text message or adding something nice in their lunch box on a difficult day. It goes a long way to making them feel loved, no matter what happens to them or what they have to deal with. Love goes a really long way!
Remember your me time and couple time
You might wonder why I would include this in a post about being emotionally available to your kids. Well, as I alluded to earlier: sometimes we aren’t even emotionally available to ourselves. There are times of the month when I wonder how I can get away from myself. And so we all should get away from ourselves every now and then. Getting away from yourself means switching off and relaxing in order to self-heal, whether you go to a yoga class, a walk on the beach or stay in bed for a whole day. Without these resets, we cannot continue to give and give and give as parents without eventually crumbling.
Likewise, don’t forget that you and your partner fell in love long before the kids were around and that love should not become neglected now that there are kids in the mix. In fact, letting the kids see that you value your couple time and still love each other can be a very good thing. You can regularly rediscover each other by going away for the weekend alone and remembering what you see in each other or discovering new things you like about each other. Just make sure that you also take the kids away on dedicated family outings and they will learn to respect your relationship with each other. Kids aren’t supposed to take over our lives. They join us in our journeys and can really benefit from the stability of a healthy, loving relationship.
Do you have any more tips? Please share them with us.