Sunday, April 14, 2013

“Mini Loves” for Kids: Powerful and Simple

Recently I set some parenting goals and was surprised with what I learned. One of my goals was to connect with each child daily, and ideally for at least ten minutes per child. That may not sound like much but with several children and busy schedules, it added up. And it helped me see how often a few children received much more than ten minutes, while others were hit and miss, depending on the day.

First, I learned not to feel guilty about not having more time but to enjoy the time I did spend with each child. And I consciously did! What became ideal for me was to love in the moment—“mini loves”, such as a text, a smile, a conversation, a hug, etc. And doing them right then: after school, as we made dinner together, sitting on my bed while other children gathered for family prayer, etc. It didn’t have to be a big block of time, but with consistent “mini love” connections throughout the day.

Second, I also thoroughly enjoyed one-on-one time. This wasn’t daily, but divided up into several smaller time chunks during the week. What terrific memory makers! My thirteen-year-old son had entered a First Chapter novel contest for a teen author boot camp. Can I tell you how fabulous it was to share that experience together? He wrote the text, then I helped him revise it, and we mutually enjoyed the collaboration. This interspersed one-on-one time also motivated me, though tired, to make peppermint scones with my I-love-to-bake daughter who is nine. We had a great time, chatting and mixing a simple kids’ recipe, and the family loved the results.

Lastly, I looked at their love-share like our pediatrician told me to view my children’s nutrition—by the week! If one child received thirty minutes of attention one day, it worked fine to focus on another child more fully the next, but still give the first one mini loves. The kids seemed more satiated due to the larger time chunks of togetherness, and were more easily satisfied with the mini loves in the meantime.

Congratulate yourself on all the good you do as a mother. And consider ways you can increase your one-on-one time chunks with your children, as well as their daily “mini loves.”

Author Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly contributor on KSL TV “Studio 5,” and regular blogger for KSL "Motherhood Matters." She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated romance Caribbean Crossroads, the 8-week Challenge program of Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.

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