Carving Time Out For Connection with Your Little Ones
This past year has been pretty hectic. We’ve been spending more time at home but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve been connecting with our children and one another. Trying to amend our routines to be able to fit your home life and office life under one roof is proving difficult for many parents. Many parents are trying to keep kids entertained and behaved during their zoom calls and meetings, only to find that these are times when kids pop their head in, suddenly need something, or get wild. So how can coffee dates with your little ones help?
You might feel like you have explained that “mommy has to work” or “we need to be quiet for daddy’s call” 1,000 times but your kids just don’t understand. You might think to yourself why can’t they just keep still or keep quiet for an hour? Your child doesn’t need to better understand your needs. We need to understand theirs.
What is This Behavior Telling Us?
Behind every behavior there is a function. When we want to change a behavior, we need to understand that behavior, meaning understanding the function behind it. What is your child trying to achieve or accomplish through this behavior? Many times, when our children are “misbehaving” or acting out, this is a cry for attention.
Can Coffee Dates Change This Behavior?
By connecting and really engaging with our children, we can fulfill the function of this behavior. In doing so, we take away the reason for the behavior, so there is (hopefully) no longer any reason for your child to interrupt or disrupt your work meeting.
Before you sit down for your meeting, to knock out an hour of work, or whatever it is you need to do uninterrupted, have a mini coffee date with your little ones. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and set your children up with their favorite drink and maybe share a snack together. Engage with them and let them steer the conversation. Allowing them to speak and ask questions will help to meet them where they are and address their needs.
We take the time to have coffee with our coworkers, and get to know them why not take the time to do this with your children? Carving out time for a coffee date with your littles one will demonstrate to your children that their needs are valid, and that you care about addressing them.
Coffee Dates Are In Between Mealtimes
Mealtime is time to sit down and share your love and life with your children, to help address their needs and give them the engagement they crave. To children though, mealtimes can feel very far apart and needs pop up in between these times. By adding in coffee dates with your little ones in between mealtime you are not asking them to go through these long stretches in between one on one time with you.
Tips to Make Coffee Dates with Your Little Ones Fun
Make it a Tea Party:
Bust out the tea cups, the party hats and maybe even the dress up clothes. Or have your coffee date in their play area. Allow your little one to dish out the snacks and play host/hostess for these next ten to fifteen minutes. Little ones love to feel like they are in charge.
If your little one is big enough to handle a coffee mug, serve their cold drink in a coffee mug so that they can feel like you. When you are sipping from the same cups there is another level of connection for your kids.
Make It Special
Share a special snack or something out of the ordinary to elevate this time together. Or let your child pick their snack (within reason of course). Get creative with their snacks and see their faces light up and listen to them unfold as they talk to you about their needs and their day. Also, aim to make this short time period screen-free. If you absolutely need to catch a work call put the phone volume on loud and leave it in the other room.
Have you incorporated any 1:1 or coffee dates into your day with your kids? Have you noticed a difference in your little ones since starting? We’d love to hear your stories!