Here are five simple ways that working parents can weave a little love into our children’s day during the COVID-19 lockdown:
1) “Hug Bombs” in between meetings.
Even though you only have one minute in between meetings, it can make a big difference for your child to feel your love. Open your arms wide, make a sound like a bomb is about to explode, run over to them and give them a super big hug as you make the sound that goes along with the “exploding” bomb. Then run back to your meeting place and get ready for your next work task. The sound gives them the signal that you are only coming in for a hug bomb, and don’t have much time – you are bursting with love and are urgently wanting to connect with them. They’ll feel the love even though you have 60 seconds or less.
2) Announce the end of your work day.
Announce – and even celebrate – the end of your work day when you are done, so your kids know you’re finally available to truly be with them, and they can see your joy about getting to be with them again. They’ll feel relieved to hear that you’ve been wanting to connect with them for all of those hours, and that you can finally do so, now that your work is all done for the day. (Or at least until they go to bed!)
It helps to have clear boundaries about your access to them during the day. Some parents of older kids will share their work schedule with their children – so the boundaries around work time / family time are clear. Some parents of younger kids will put up a red “STOP” sign on the door during private meetings and a green “GO” sign on the door when they are doing work, but can be interrupted if needed. This clarity helps settle the child’s system, who doesn’t have to wonder, “Is my mommy / daddy available for me right now? Or not?”
3) Wear jewelry your kids make for you
If your child has made any piece of jewelry for you, even if it is from years ago, consider wearing it as a sign that you love their creations and are carrying a little piece of them with you. You can also take a long piece of thread, and cut it up so that everyone in the family can tie a piece around their wrist. These physical signs of love can help children feel the sense of togetherness and care between you – even as you go into the other room, turn your attention away from them and work for a few hours.
4) Sprinkle love on food
Many of us parents are doing more baking with our kids right now. Let your kids know that the most important ingredient in all of your baking recipes is love! Announce to your kids “Oh! I almost forgot the most important ingredient!…” and see if they can remember what that is. “LOVE!” And then take a little love from your heart and sprinkle it into the bowl. Encourage your kids to add their love into the mixing bowl, too!
5) Whispered words of love at night
Even though we are all feeling tapped right now as working parents trying to homeschool our kids, there is one simple thing you can do at the end of the day. When your children are asleep and the house is quiet, you can go into their rooms and sprinkle some love on them. You can take some love from your heart, sprinkle it on them, and let them know how much you love them. Tell them how grateful you are that they came into your life. These subliminal messages matter. And you might find it easier to connect with the love you feel for your kids when they aren’t fighting with you or with each other, but are laying in bed, looking relaxed and sleeping peacefully.
We might not have a lot of time on our hands as working parents right now. But the good news is that it doesn’t take much time to show a whole lot of love. All of these ideas can be done in less than a minute. A little bit of time mixed in with a lot of love can make a big difference in the minds and hearts of your kids. So try it out and sprinkle a little love on your kids during your work day!