Updated: Nov 4, 2020
I continue to keep a connection with my adult children in similar ways to when they were young. Here 7 ways that I use to stay connected:
Give lots of hugs and say I love you during at least one interaction a day. I manage to stay connected with my adult children through texts and sometimes emails. Technology has made it easy to stay connected with things like Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat and many others. There is no reason to not make it happen.
Listen to understand, not to respond. I think this allows your child regardless of age to process information and learn how to make decisions. As they get older, I believe this is a valuable skill that benefits them in the relationships they establish throughout life. Communication is an essential ingredient to ensure distance and time don't keep you from enjoying a meaningful connection with your children.
Play, laugh and enjoy life right now. I still play video games and sports with my sons today. Special thanks to 2K and Madden because they have helped me to stay connected through long separations and it is a great conversation starter. Laughter is known to reduce anxiety and build cooperation. I know the benefits of playing and laughing with your children regardless of the age is priceless.
Take a break from technology to listen to your child talk about something that is important to them. I do this when we have meals. I admit it is more challenging when you have teenagers and adults. I make sure I don't talk or text during the technology break even when it is work related. This does wonders for self-esteem.
If you have more than one child, make sure you carve out some one on one time. I have twins and this is so important for their growth and development. When they are young it can be a little challenging, so I suggest allowing one to decide on the game or tv show for the day and alternate that way. As they got older, I allowed them to set the pace and decide on the activity. Keep in mind that as they grow they have other interests that may not involve hanging out with a parent. I found this to be true once they got their drivers license.
Slow down and enjoy the moment. It took me a while to figure this out. I always believed I had more time, I'll do it tomorrow but the reality is that tommorow might be to late. You blink and they are all grown up. Today is a great day to start slowing down and enjoying the moment.
Show up and be present when you can. Throughout my career, there were plenty of times that my military obligations took me away from my family but there were just as many times that I didn't take advantage of this because I was busy or tired. As I listen to my sons talk and reminisce, they remember the times when I was present and they don't dwell on times the military took me away. Don't beat yourself up about the times you can't control just make sure you show up when you get the opportunity to be present.
Leave a comment and let me know the things you do to keep the kid connection. I am Jacqueline Hill, an Army retiree and current federal employee. Visit www.survivingthemilitary.com to learn more.