The Most Important Thing You Can Do With Your Kids Today to Make Connections and Build Lasting Relationships

I have one adult “child” now and one almost adult. After August of this year, I won’t have any preteen-aged children. How did this happen? I turned around for just a moment and looked back to find…this! No kidding, ya’ll. It happens fast.

This past week we were on vacation as a family. We join up with my husband’s extended family each year for a beach vacation. But we find opportunity to do some things with just the six of us along the way. We topped off our vacation week with a trip to the movies. And, as I looked along the seats of the theater and saw my kids, I was filled with a moment of gratitude. Gratitude that we were all there together. Gratitude that they still have fun hanging out with us. Gratitude that nobody complained about having to be together.

I know that this isn’t something to take for-granted. Having a continuing good relationship with my kids as they get older is a blessing. So what’s the secret to building a strong, lasting relationship?

The importance of spending time with your child
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A disclaimer...I’m not perfect. My family isn’t perfect. We’re not always holding hands and smiling and singing “Kumbaya.” We’re sometimes arguing and bickering and snippy with each other. But I have discovered- through over eighteen years of parenting- one very important factor in connecting with my kids and building lasting relationships.
This one thing isn’t costly. It isn’t going to take you hours to plan. You don’t need any special supplies. It’s a thing that seems so simple. But it’s the most important thing you can do to nurture a relationship with your kids. And you can do it today.

Time together is critical for connecting with your children and nurturing a relationship with them.

Yes, you’ve probably heard it before. But it’s worth hearing again. Time spent with your children is vital to developing a lasting relationship. This time doesn’t have to be planned out. It doesn’t have to involve expensive events or pricey supplies. In fact, this time together is especially rich when it happens in a quite unplanned situation, when we find ourselves taking time with our kids throughout the ordinary moments of the day. Why is time spent so very important?

When we spend time with our kids, they know that we value them.

No matter what our lips say, what we spend time on shows our priorities. Kids instinctively know this. And when you put down your phone or turn off the Netflix show or stop folding clothes to listen to a child, that child knows that she’s important, more important than whatever you were doing before. Time spent shows value.

When we spend time with our kids, we get to know them.

Do you know your child’s favorite show to watch? Do you know what YouTubers they follow? Do you know what music they like? You find out all of those things by spending time with them. Sometimes the most mundane, seemingly unimportant conversations are the most important when it comes to making connections with your kids because you get to know them in those conversations.
I can remember hour long conversations with my son about Minecraft. Guess what? I didn’t care about Minecraft. I didn’t want to know all about it. But I do care about my son, and I do want to know him. And the time I spent listening to him talk about Minecraft gave me the opportunity to get to know him.

When we spend time with our kids, we get glimpses of their hearts.

I don’t want my kids to be good. In fact I wrote a whole post about this. I don’t want them to just have polished outward behavior. I want them to have hearts that are in tune with God and a desire to do His will. Spending time with our kids gives us the opportunity to “see” their hearts. When we spend time with them, we learn to pick up on their heart attitudes. These glimpses can help us to guide them.
The importance of spending time with your child

Creative Ways to Spend Time with Your Kids

As I said earlier in this post, the time you spend with your kids doesn’t have to be planned. It doesn’t have to involve money spent. It doesn’t require that you buy lots of expensive supplies. It can happen naturally. It can be a conversation that takes place in the car as you’re headed to church. It can be taking time to watch them play a favorite video game and explain it to you. But if you’re looking for some ways to initiate time spent together and the opportunity to make connections with your kids, here are a few ideas to inspire you.
  • Playing board games
  • Playing/watching them play video games
  • Watching a Netflix series together and discussing it
  • Reading a book together
  • Doing a chore together
  • Taking a walk
  • Running errands together
  • Cooking together

The Shapeshift Coloring Book for Parents and Kids

I recently had an opportunity to see a new coloring book for parents and kids on Kickstarter. This coloring book, called Shapeshift, lays flat and has two paged coloring spreads so that parents can color on one side and kids on the other. This is an awesome way for parents like me who love adult coloring books to spend time with their kids- especially if you have younger children. Each two paged spread has one side that’s easier coloring and another that’s harder. Mom or dad can color with a child. What a great way to just spend time together! I can imagine that this will provide lots of opportunities for great conversations.
Shapeshift Coloring book for parents and kids
Image from Color Kitsune
You can find the Kickstarter campaign here. Your pledge will get you a discount off of digital or physical copies of the Shapeshift book. This is a fun and unique way to spend time together.

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