Let’s face it, divorce is rough. And no matter how “right road” we chose to be, or how “emotionally aware” we are, there will be days where we are just not our best. And it’s these days when it is the most difficult, and the most important, to be a good role model. Here are a few things you can do to connect with your kids when you find yourself in a rut:
1. Go for a drive and get ice cream, a hot chocolate, a croissant, a happy meal … something little and meaningful. Pick something that you know is special to them. Preferably without asking them what is special to them. The key thing here is the drive and not so much what you go to get or do. With limited eye contact there is a natural space for vulnerabilities to present themselves and for your kids to open up. We are more akin to sharing if we feel comfortable and lack of eye contact in the car is a given.
2. You can’t go wrong with game night. A good game of Bananagrams or Monopoly are always fun. Tucking our phones away and enjoying a game with our children is good old fashioned quality time.
3. We all give and receive love differently. While Gary Chapman’s research about the 5 love languages isn’t new, it is most certainly note worthy. Love language is unquestionably the foundation for reciprocal love. The theory behind the 5 love languages is this: if we receive the kind of love that makes us feel loved (our love language) then we feel loved. If we receive love that is not our love language it will miss the mark and therefore leave us not feeling loved. Learn your child’s love language
. If you are loving your child with their love language your child will feel unwavering love from you … and these benefits are life long and immeasurable.
4. Make pizza together. Who doesn’t like fresh homemade pizza? But more than that, it’s about the process. It’s a great multi person event and it can be as easy or as culinary as you like.
5. Play the “When I grow up …” game. This is the perfect thing to do at the dinner table – and it’s good for all ages, parents and kids alike. There are no limits and you can make this game into any kind of silliness that you see fit. Everyone gets a turn while you laugh and dream together. Start like this and replace the underlined words as you go …
- “When I grow up I am going to be a photographer for the national geographic.
- I am going to drive a vespa.
- I will have two horses and ten budgies.
- I will live with my sister.
- My house will be on top of stilts, on a beach in California.
- My boyfriend will be Ironman.
- I will have long hair.
- and I will wear pyjamas all the time.”
At the end of the day listen to your kids when they share with you. They, like everyone else, just want to be heard. And you’d be surprised what starts to flow when you provide quiet for them to fill. As importantly, forgive yourself for your less than ideal moment. And make it just that, a moment. Do what you need to do to tuck the emotions aside, temporarily, while you connect with your kids. Don’t worry, the situation and it’s emotions will be there when you are ready to sort through them.