When was the last time you really connected one on one with your child? In a time where so many of us are either working an abundance of hours, managing a household, raising multiple children, caring for aging parents or a combination of many of those and all while in the middle of pandemic and possibly holding our own mental health together, the idea of crafting individual time with each of our children can be a struggle.
In the middle of the balancing act of career/motherhood/self-growth, I know I have often felt the pang of motherhood guilt in feeling like I’m not spending the amount of time I should be. Luckily enough, research supports the idea of quality over quantity. Not to negate the importance of spending time with our children, but the study from the Journal of Marriage and Family emphasizes how we spend our time together truly matters.
What can we do?
What options exist that we do not reach peak Pinterest overload? One of those great choices exists in journaling. A tool I created to support parents through this The Us Journal. With creative prompts to write and draw and invite kids to discover more about themselves—their likes, their fears, their hopes and dreams—all while parents get to join in the fun with written responses of their own!
If you are looking to forge a lasting connection with your child and build their self-esteem, look no further. The Us Journal guides parents and kids in building deep and loving bonds.
What’s so great about journaling?
Journaling is a wonderful tool to support and cope with mental health. The University of Rochester Medical Center shares the journaling helps to:
- Manage anxiety
- Reduce Stress
- Create space for positive self-talk
- Helps bring to light negative thoughts and behaviors
Be it through a tool like The Us Journal or alternative, having the opportunity to journal together opens conversations and space in your child’s mental health journey.
On board and ready to go?! Let’s make it a super positive experience for you both!
Setting up you space
If there is one thing that breaks me down when I’m trying to do anything, it’s in my physical space. If I’m finding myself looking at that pile of laundry or those books scattered over the ground, you can bet my concentration isn’t where I want it to be, my kids.
Some helpful points I use to be more present in the moment are to:
- Be Distraction Free – I know you know this. I know I know this. Put the phone down. Shoot, put it on a charger in the kitchen on silent. Now naming nomophobia, textaphrenia and phantom vibrations, our ability to shut out and off technology has created a new slew of vocabulary to describe our pathological phone use. Unless you are waiting for a call where someone’s life is at stake, those texts and social media alerts can wait.
- Get Comfy – For me this looks like finding a clean space, at least from my viewpoint. Sometimes that means closing the door to the rest of the house. Think about a place you both feel cozy. Maybe it’s your awesome couch you can both sit in on the floor on a blanket facing each other. Perhaps, if you are pulling a lot of materials out, it’s outdoors for some fresh air. What ever the space, find one where you and your child can be together safe and sound.
- Bring in materials – If you are using The Us Journal, individual expression is key! If you and your child enjoy writing, bring your favorite pencils and pens. If you’re a little more artsy start pulling out those crayons, pastels, or markers. Maybe cut and paste works for you, pull out those old magazines you know you’re never going to use again and grab those Fiskars and Elmer’s, but no running!
- Timing is everything – You know you and your child’s schedule best. Whether it is a Saturday morning or Tuesday evening, pick a time where you know you both are able to relax and be in the moment.
Rules I use for The Us Journal
You get to make the rules! This is your book, so you and your child decide how it’s done.
Fill in each page however you like. You might draw, write, or even cut out pictures and paste them in.
Let your child be proud of themselves. You are both so amazing and have incredibly special things that only you both know and are able to do! Do not be afraid to say exactly how kind, brave, and unique you are, because you are all those things! And as I always say, you both deserve to be loved, as you are. Let them know that.
A Sneak Peak into The Us Journal
The Us Journal makes its way to the world November 9th 2021, but I wanted to share a little sneak peak and give you a chance to try it out with your kids.
Your child will think about things that they hold on to and worry about. Let them talk about it a little and help them get it down however it makes sense to you.
You, the parent, get to share your coping mechanisms when you worry. What do you tell yourself? What do you start doing physically, emotionally, or spiritually to go through the worry? Let them see what is going on in your head!
Keep It Going
Journaling together is a wonderful start to even more conversations. Once you’ve opened the door with your child, keep it going. What can that look like?
- Ask Questions – when they start to share, be curious, you’ll never know what golden gem they’ll share that day.
- Be silly – one of our favorite things to do together is make jokes. I must say, for a while a good many went straight to toilet humor, but we still all had a laugh.
- Create together – whether it’s music, visual art, performing art, finding a way to be creators. There is something about the creative that brings us down to our souls and experiencing that together is beautiful.
- Share your experiences – perhaps it was a time you learned something important or felt deeply. Wholehearted connection with another human, including our children, exists in the space of being open and available and they in turn feel safe to open that space for you.
- Hold space when they need it – in the eventuality of life, they will fluctuate in pain and joy. Be open to sitting with them in those moments.
If you or a love one need help immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘TALK’ to 741741