A friend and fellow blogger posted a question in a parenting group- what is your parenting joy that you hold on to and remember on the rough days? That question reminded me of something I’ve been doing to reconnect with my kiddos and repair some of the lost connection from too much yelling.
This tip is especially useful for rough days, but it will work any time to help you connect with your child.
Just tell them stories.
Children love stories, especially stories about themselves. It’s also a great way to remember funny things they did or fun places you went together and reminisce about the good times you’ve had. The best part, now they can remember when they were babies and those stories become part of the fabric of your family, like insider knowledge.
Long before there were cameras, smart phones, and computers… before there were even books, history was passed down through orally through storytelling. In fact, most family history is still passed down this way. Think about it. Do you have a book that tells you stories about your childhood? Well, you might have a baby book, but it’s not filled out in as great detail as the stories your family can tell when they get together.
Growing up, my grandparents, aunts and uncles were always telling me stories about myself. I don’t know if it’s just because they forget they told it before, but I can’t even count how many times I heard that my grandfather fed me mashed potatoes until I spit them back out or that my great grandfather called me “spitter” because I was always drooling. Some day I want to get all of the stories in my head out on paper, but if that doesn’t happen I can help them live on by telling them to my own kids. I can pass the oral family history on to them.You don't have to be a writer to conjure up a fanciful bedtime tale... just tell them a real story. Click To Tweet
There’s something magical about hearing a story about when your parents were kids, or when you were a baby because as a kid, these concepts of time are so abstract. My 4 year old hangs on every word and repeats the stories back to us. Someday he’ll tell his own kids about his parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents and that’s how the family history stays alive.
Telling stories also works wonders to help build your connection with your kids, even if you’re not having a rough day. But on those really rough days… when you need to turn the mood to positive after the end of a long day, telling a happy story about how you always sang a certain song or who bought their favorite stuffed animal is a great way to reconnect.
If you read bedtime stories, you can also tell stories about the time you went blueberry picking (if you’re reading Blueberries for Sal) or when you went to a museum (several Little Critter books). I’m not an expert, but kids love connecting stories to real life experiences and it helps build the connections in their brains too. I try to weave these types of stories and connections into everything we do, especially at bedtime or when we’re riding in the car, to spark conversation and build upon what they are learning. It’s fun for all of us.
If you enjoyed this post, or know someone who needs a simple way to connect with children, I’d love for you to share it with them on your favorite social media networks.