Two weeks and some change. 17 days to be exact. When those days are up, I’ll take my oldest to 5th grade and walk my two elementary school kids to their classrooms.
New backpacks will be hung on hooks, new lunch pails will be put in their cubbies. Then I’ll walk out and wait for them to come home eight hours later.
I’m one of those moms who truly misses her kids when they’re in school. I feel a certain disconnect, like I’m missing out on a huge chunk of their lives.
Over the years, as they’ve moved up the grade levels too fast, I’ve come up with ways to stay connected so I don’t feel like I’m losing them. These same tips can be used for working moms who feel like they miss every day of their child’s lives, as well. We all struggle with it, but a little effort can help keep us involved!
Back to school doesn’t have to mean no more fun! Check out these fun school lunches your kids will love. You’ll love them, too, because they’re all less than $1!
1. Mommy & Me Dinner
Every once in a while, when I can find a sitter for my other two children, I take one of my daughters to dinner — just the two of us.
It’s tough to do as a single mom, but it’s the one thing that I’ve found that reconnects us the fastest. No conversation topic is off limits, no silly comment brushed off, no phones and electronics allowed… except the required selfies, of course!
The girls get to pick the restaurant and, if we have time, they get to pick something small to do afterward, too.
This is one of my most favorite things to do with my kids as a mom. We come home reconnected, closer than ever and counting down the days to the next mommy and me dinner.
Want to plan a Mommy and Me dinner at home or in the park? Check out our adorable recipes and ideas for a Mommy and Me tea party!
It’s so simple, but a little note here and there in their lunchbox or even your child’s school folder can make your relationship stronger even if your time together is limited.
We’ve all seen the commercial where the dad leaves notes every day for his son. At the end, the son leaves one for his dad. Just the vision of them opening their lunch, seeing the note, and the smile crossing their face is enough for me to know that I’m trying and it is making an impact.
Kids need to know they’re being thought of and loved. Little notes help make that happen!
Need a fun way to brighten their day at school? Click here to download our free back to school printable lunch notes and bookmarks. Each one features a funny, kid-friendly joke or praise for their latest accomplishments. Feel free to print them out, personalize them, and then slip one in their lunchbox the next morning!
3. Ask Them How Their Day Was
It seems like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how few parents ask about a kid’s day. We ask about school, what they learned and about other specifics, like “How did you do on your math test?”
But “How was your day?” can start an open-ended conversation that can bring you closer to them and give you a better idea of their emotions, thoughts, and how they’re dealing with things in general.
It’s also a great way to teach kids to ask you, and others, the same thing. This small question can lead to great conversations.
4. Read a Book With Them
In the middle of a busy week full of work, chores, homework, and activities, taking 15 minutes to read a book to kids, especially if they already read, may seem like an impossible task.
But if your child is gone all day at school and you’re at work, or if you’re a single parent that can barely find time to do the dishes, making that 15 minutes a requirement can make a difference in your connection to your child.
We recently got a series of books from my mom that she, me, and my sister read as little girls. I can’t wait to sit and read my childhood classics with my own girls!
Not sure what books to start with? We’ve got a list of 19 classic children’s books for every grade — plus a few that you’ll all enjoy reading together before bed!
5. Have Family Dinner
The research is true. Dinner can be the one thing we can regularly do together that reconnects a family.
Turn off the phones, power off the tablets, and sit down and talk to the kids. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but that 30-minute meal can lead to connections we all need.
People need to connect. Reconnecting over a meal at home without any distractions has been one of the best things I’ve done with my kids!
Need a little help getting your kids to open up at dinnertime? Try these fun dinnertime ideas, like conversation cards, plus a few tasty recipes and they’re sure to start telling you all about their day.
Your turn! Tell me how you stay connected with your kids, even on your busiest days! Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.