Creating Connection With Your Children

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to focus on something that I hear about quite frequently in the clinic—the struggle to maintain a connection with children in a culture where digital media and peers are often given more value than family. I see a growing sense of anxiety about how to maintain a meaningful connection with those they love. And yes, all of these same struggles and concerns are felt by dads too! (More on that next month!)

In today's digital age, social media has become a predominant force in our lives, often affecting the way we connect with others, including children. As a result, many people experience anxiety and disconnection from their children due to the constant distractions and pressures of social media. These pressures can be both from the parent’s relationship with social media and their children’s. By implementing some simple tips and strategies, you can enhance your relationships with your children and reduce anxiety in the process.

1. Quality Over Quantity: In the age of social media, it is easy to get caught up in the quantity of time spent with our children rather than the quality of that time. Instead of being physically present but mentally distracted by social media, prioritize being fully engaged and present with your children during the time you spend together. This can include setting aside dedicated device-free time for bonding activities such as playing games, going for walks, or simply having meaningful conversations.

For example, instead of scrolling through social media while your child is talking to you, put your phone away and actively listen to what they are saying. Engage in a genuine conversation and show that you value their thoughts and opinions. Quality time is essential for building a strong connection with your child.

2. Active Listening: One of the most effective ways to connect with children is through active listening. By showing genuine interest in their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, you can strengthen your bond with your children and create a safe space for open communication. This can be achieved by putting away devices, maintaining eye contact, and practicing empathy and understanding. In addition, remember to listen to understand and ask clarifying questions to help ensure you understand the other person fully. 

For instance, when your child (or anyone else) shares something important with you, give them your undivided attention. Put your phone on silent and make eye contact to show that you are fully present. Ask open-ended questions to encourage further conversation and let them know that you are actively listening and interested in what they have to say. 

3. Lead By Example: Children learn by observing the behavior of their parents, so it is essential to model healthy social media habits and prioritize real-life interactions over virtual ones. You can instill these values in your children and strengthen their relationship skills by demonstrating the importance of face-to-face communication, active listening, and genuine connection.

4. Remember its Design: Every social media platform is designed to be addictive to trigger an unconscious-seeking reflex and keep you scrolling. Much like our food system has invested in understanding how to keep you buying their food-like product without thinking about that choice, our digital platforms are investing in keeping your interest—it’s how they successfully place ads for your consumption and make their money. I’m not saying trash your accounts and eschew the internet. I am saying to be mindful of the purpose of these systems and use them for your benefit rather than allowing yourself to be used by them.

For example, make a conscious effort to limit your social media usage. Instead, spend quality time together engaging in activities that promote bonding and connection. Show them that relationships and interactions in the real world are more valuable than virtual ones!

The prevalence of social media in our daily lives can pose challenges to meaningful connections with our children. By prioritizing quality over quantity, practicing active listening, and leading by example, you can reduce anxiety and foster deeper connections with your children. 

Some recommended reading: Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld, PhD

If you want to challenge your thinking, Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn, presents some radically different ideas on how we relate to our children and makes some good points about how thinking about how and when we use extrinsic rewards may deepen our connection with others—especially kids.

*Disclosure: All opinions reflected here are our own and we only recommend products we love and use ourselves. This post may contain affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn us a small commission.

Last night, I found myself thoroughly enjoying “building my box” of subscription groceries and realized how few people feel that way when grocery shopping. I consider myself a foodie; constantly conjuring recipes in my head and thinking of what I’d like to whip together for my next meal. However, trips to the grocery store are personally a little burdensome for me. It’s not just the large crowds that I prefer to avoid (it feels like the grocery store has become the # 1 attraction of any town since the pandemic hit), but also the limited supply, lack of variety for healthy snacks the whole family will like—you get the gist. 

Tasty, healthy, AND easy? It's possible!

Although I began using Instacart religiously for grocery delivery before the shutdown of 2020, I found that there just tended to be too many items kicked out of my cart due to limited supply.  Oftentimes, I’d end up with less than half of my order and had no real way to gauge that other than just crossing my fingers and hoping the items I selected would be in stock. I still order this way from time to time, but it’s frustrating knowing that whatever I need the most may not be included—sometimes sending my carefully planned weekly menu into chaos!

Enter Imperfect Foods. I came across their ad on Instagram and signed up for my first box in the spring of 2021. With Imperfect, you can select a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly box and skip anytime you choose. I chose the weekly option and waited reluctantly for the shopping window to open so that I could see what items they had to choose from. When it was time to shop, I was so pleasantly surprised! Right at my fingertips, I had options from organic to gluten-free, from vegan offerings to grass-fed beef and Chilean sea bass! I had an assortment of vegetables and fruits to choose from that I can rarely find at the store. They have healthier options for chips, candies, and cookies using organic ingredients and no additives. They also have juices without additional sugars, a variety of kombucha and seltzer flavors, cold brew coffee, dairy-free milk alternatives, and organic ginger beer. Everything is delivered to your door in a box—and refrigerated or frozen items are neatly packed in insulated silver liners with a gel freezer pack to keep them nice and cool.  Exactly how “imperfect” can you expect your foods to be? Well, they may have cosmetic quirks (that you probably wouldn’t even notice in a store), irregular sizes, or be surplus items. Their structure reduces both food and packaging waste while keeping prices reasonable—it’s a win-win!

We found many healthy instant meals!

Now having been happily on the Imperfect Foods bandwagon for about a year, I added another subscription service last week, and am thrilled with it as well. My teenage daughter has been complaining about school lunches lately. She’s never really been one to eat school lunch in the first place—she’s almost always taken a lunchbox; but now that she works and gets home much later in the day, that extra little bit of sleep she may be able to squeeze in in the morning has become oh-so-important and lunch becomes an afterthought first thing in the morning. She expressed interest in taking a filling protein shake to school, but she gets tired of those pretty quickly and doesn’t want to deal with the extra bulk of carrying a lunch box around all day when her backpack already weighs a ton.

Yes, Imperfect Foods does have excellent lunch options, but for extra ease and convenience, I also checked out Revive Superfoods. Revive Superfoods offers prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options. Superfood ingredients are flash-frozen at peak nutrition and are either ready to eat or ready to eat in a matter of minutes, eliminating prep time and headache. I chose the 12 item box to start, and have loaded up on superfood smoothies and super meals for both my daughter and myself. I opted to do this subscription once monthly for the time being but just may increase my frequency now that I’ve tried a couple of items and loved them. Both of our energy levels have been rather sustainable throughout the day. We stay fuller longer, and with options like the Morning Mocha smoothie, I’ve kept my latest commitment of going caffeine-free without feeling like I’m missing out on my cup of morning Joe.

Family cooking time is back on the menu!

There are quite a few other similar subscription services out there, I suggest you explore to find the best fit for you. For me, Imperfect Foods and Revive Superfoods have not disappointed and have created more excitement for me when it comes to planning meals and ordering groceries for the family. Dietary and nutritional needs are easily met, the whole family now has healthy snacks and meals with zero complaints, I get to avoid long lines and bare shelves, and my food budget goes further. All of my in-store grocery shopping grievances have been solved!

Our staff loves Imperfect Foods so much that I have 3 different referral links to share with you if you’d like to try it out as well (and save some cash while you’re at it!): 

Referral Link #1

Referral link #2

Referral Link #3 

For our Egg Shakshuka recipe using Imperfect Foods items, click here.

If you’d like to try out Revive Superfoods, use this link for 50% off your first order

I hope you’ll love these subscription services as much as we do. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to fill your fridge and pantry with healthier options for everyone in the household, check out these subscription services—you’ll be glad you did!

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