November 2014 Parenting Tip: Wake up and Smell the Signals

This tip is such an important one, especially with Thanksgiving coming up.  Turkey time means lots of time with family and chances to create new memories.   When these opportunities to share quality moments with our kids present themselves, it is important to recognize the signals they are sending us and not to ignore them.


Today my six year old asked me to play a board game with him.  I told him previously that Mommy was going to lie down for 30 minutes and then I would play. (He was up the entire night before with a bad cough and I was pooped).  Within five minutes, he was in my room telling me I had rested enough and it was time to play.  Initially, I told him to have some quiet time in his room and I would come get him in a bit.  He starting whining that he wanted someone to play with him and I knew then that my rest time was over.

Our kids (if old enough) need to understand that Mommy and Daddy deserve some down time on the weekends but Mommy and Daddy need to realize that our kids will not want to sit down and play board games with us for long.  Rest time will always be there waiting for us tomorrow and ten years from now.

My son sent me a signal and I recognized his need of spending time with me was more important than my need to rest.  The hour long board game was really fun and a memory for my son to share when his teacher asks him how he spent his weekend.  During our game, I actually thanked my son for making me get out of bed as I was enjoying myself and the time we were spending together.  His smile was proof I did the right thing.  I didn’t have my phone or tablet with me, the television was not on and I wasn’t somewhere else mentally.  I gave 100% of my attention to my boys (my eight year old decided to join us too) and we had a blast.

MH900089462Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means time away from the daily grind and time to spend with your family.  Use it to reconnect with your children and make them the focus of your moment, instead of the report due on your boss’ desk when you return, the supermarket shop you so desperately need to do, the laundry that is piling up or amount of “likes” your selfie is getting on Facebook.

Whether your child is coming right out and asking you to play or sending signals that they need your attention, pay attention and follow through!  While getting much needed rest is important for us parents to function properly, the development of your relationship with your child is more crucial. To compromise, make your child the priority and then find ways to get some rest.

  • “Mommy would love to build a castle with you.  Afterward, why don’t you get your favorite book and let’s cuddle in my bed.”
  • “Mommy is so tired but I would love to play a game with you.  Afterwards, let’s make popcorn and watch a movie together.”
  • “Daddy has a very important meeting to prepare for tomorrow so pick one game instead of three.”
  • “You are such a good artist and I can’t wait to color with you.  Afterwards, why don’t you draw Mommy a surprise picture while I lay down for a bit and close my eyes.” (Assuming they are old enough not to be supervised so you won’t wake up to a red and black mural on your wall).

We are all busy and struggle with trying to balance it all.  Next time you shoot down a request for your attention from your child, take a second to think about what they really need vs. what you really need.  Parenting is a selfless “job” with tons of benefits!  Seeing your child smile and laugh with you while creating memories are just a few of those benefits!