The Cards to Connect® website was born from my strong need to spend more positive time with my children.
I often felt that much of our family interactions, particularly on school days, were around eating nicely, getting ready on time, tidying up, putting things away, hurrying up. I felt like a sergeant major running a boot camp and it was never ending. Every night before I went to bed, I’d promise myself that tomorrow would be different; that I’d spend more time enjoying my wonderful children and less time hassling them.
A New Approach
The opportunity to see an interview with Harvard Professor, Tal Ben Shahar was the start of a whole new approach. One of the key things I took away was that once a week his family told each other three things they appreciated in each other.
I had also been researching the concept of gratitude and discovering some amazing benefits of gratitude practices. I decided to combine the two ideas and each night, just before the kids went to bed, I told them three things I had appreciated in them that day (and because I was often tired by then, I wrote my thoughts down on cards so I would remember what to say!)
Sometimes it was little things like them putting their washing in the wash basket or clearing the table without me having to ask. Sometimes I saw them looking after each other or someone else. Other times I saw them trying so hard at something and picking themselves up time after time until they were happy with what they’d done. Sometimes, our day hadn’t been so great and so I focused on their lovely hugs, wonderful smiles and how lucky I was to have them.
It was a simple addition to our routine and I’ve been thrilled by the difference it has made to our family. The kids go to bed feeling good. I go to bed feeling good. We’ve all been more appreciative of each other.
I also started to see some unexpected benefits. I noticed they were more likely to appreciate things that were done for them and say thank you (without being asked) more often too. Sometimes the kids wanted to give me cards in return. Other nights I’d find little notes sitting on my pillow. Even my little one, who couldn’t write, would draw a picture and get his dad to do the writing for him.
I discovered that I’d opened a window to more conversation with them about their day and what had happened while they were at school or with friends – the good things and the challenges.
I’m not going to pretend our lives suddenly became perfect with us all walking around in little bliss bubbles. We are still a real family with all the normal frustrations and joys that living together brings. We still live in a real world that brings challenges and disappointments as well as laughter and fun. We still experience the full range of emotions and their outpourings in our house. The kids are still learning and so am I!
I am thrilled to have found a way to connect with and acknowledge my children. I love being able to spend more positive time with them, build their self esteem and confidence. It’s been great understanding more about the kids’ day and how they are handling the things they face. I also really enjoy being able to finish my day on a positive note.
Over time, our cards have developed and I am so pleased to have the opportunity to share them with you. My hope is that you and the children in your life may also benefit from a greater connection through more compliments and more conversation.