Afternoon pickup can be crazy. Sitting in a long carpool lines or being on the run trying to get a million things done before school ends can leave you frustrated and agitated. We usually drift somewhere back and forth in between those two as busy always on the go moms.
I’ve been focusing hard on being more intentional in my life in general but especially in my role as mommy.
I want to make sure I am in tune with my child and what is happening in his life and that we aren’t floating around on auto pilot.
We are only blessed to be the main influencer in their lives for a season and it is my belief that we take advantage of that time because we will never get it back.
I want my son and I am sure you want your children to feel that they are important, that their days matter, that what they have to say is important.
The normal after school talk often starts with work, homework and behavior, which can make a child feel like your love or attention is performance based. It is totally okay and we all should care about and talk about these things but maybe not the first thing… unless the child chooses to bring it up.
For many of our school and preschool aged children, they spend a great amount of their most active weekday hours in school. How we interact with them after we have been apart for them can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Here are 7 of the top things I attempt to do to welcome him home:
1. Turn off the phone, all social media and radio when you see them for the first time.
If you are picking them up from school make sure you aren’t on the phone or facebook and that you can greet them and give them your full undivided attention when you see them. (I just put my phone in the middle console on silent so that I am not tempted) If they are bus riders… when they come in the door tune everything else and focus your full attention on them. Now don’t go beat yourself up…maybe you had to take an important business call or the like..so have I and he doesn’t pay that any attention because 95% of the time he gets my FULL undivided attention.
2. Make sure you greet them with a smile. There is nothing like a warm smile from mom to warm up a child’s day. Regardless of how hectic or chaotic your day might have been muster up a smile for your kid because they could desperately need it.
3. Ask questions completely unrelated to performance. This will let your child know you truly care about their day and it is a good opportunity for you to bond with your child and do a heart check.
A couple of questions I ask are:
— Whose bucket did you fill today?
— Who filled your bucket?
— Who did you play with on the playground? What did you play?
— What did you like most about lunch today?
— Did you learn anything exciting?
— What was your favorite part about school today?
In asking those questions It gives me the opportunity to see if he was being kind, if others were being kind to him. If he is having a social or emotional issues. Is he a loner? Is he eating and the types of things he finds most interesting so that I can nurture that.
4. Share an afternoon snack. We either go home and make one together which gives us more quality time or at least once a week I get spontaneous and we may go for ice cream or a special treat.
5. As soon as I can get to him physically I make sure to give him the biggest hug and kiss possible. There is power in physical touch. It speaks without saying a word.
6. After snack and a moment to just breathe and relax, then we get into the heavy school stuff. Looking at his folder, checking grades and setting up for homework. As I stated before these things are super important but I try to only do them after he knows how much I care about HIM first and we have spent some time to just be. Trust me, I found that doing this last brings the frustration levels down and we are both more relaxed and ready to focus.
7. I participate WITH him in an activity of his choosing. If it’s still early after homework and we have no other after school activities we do something fun, like play a board game, or playdough, maybe even go outside if weather permits.
Are there any other practices you have with your children? Please share.