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Make every day Mother's Day

Why celebrate your Momhood with your kids only on Mother's Day when you can connect with them daily? Author and parenting expert Kimberley Clayton Blaine wants you to build a year-round and life-long deep emotional bond with your kids and offers seven sim

Why celebrate your Momhood with your kids only on Mother's Day when you can connect with them daily? Author and parenting expert Kimberley Clayton Blaine wants you to build a year-round and life-long deep emotional bond with your kids and offers seven simple steps for developing a strong family bond right now.
Why celebrate your Momhood with your kids only on Mother's Day when you can connect with them daily? Author and parenting expert Kimberley Clayton Blaine wants you to build a year-round and life-long deep emotional bond with your kids and offers seven simple steps for developing a strong family bond right now.

The best Mother's Day gift

Moms don't have hope for that special Mother's Day gift from their kids or spouse, they can be proactive and receive the best gift of all -- a meaningful relationship with their kids. “Flowers, cards, and breakfast in bed are great, but at the end of the day, what mothers really want is to feel a real, deep, and lasting emotional bond with their kids,” says Blaine, a licensed family and child therapist, mother of two boys, and author of The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children (Jossey-Bass, 2010). “They want the great relationship every single (ordinary) day, not the big show of affection that comes around only once a year.”

7 small changes that can become emotionally enriching habits

Blaine goes on to say that while the concept of having a deep, emotional connection may seem like a daunting task, it’s not only possible for moms to make that crucial connection with their kids, it’s actually not as complicated as you may think. “There are simple changes that any parent can make that will work wonders for creating the bond with her child that she desires. And once those small changes become habits, they will come naturally to her, all the time.”

1. Make time for playtime

Blaine says that one of the best ways that parents can connect with their children is through play -- on the child's level. Not only does play release energy and provide opportunities to be involved in a child’s world, it is also how children process their inner feelings and work out their little-kid real-life issues. Parents who take the time to play with their children strengthen their understanding of their children’s emotional world.

2. Plug in emotionally

Children can experience a wide range of emotions each day (or even each hour, for that matter!), from happy to sad, frustrated to triumphant—what may seem to us a trivial moment can be a big deal for them. Blaine says that parents have to make the effort to “plug in” to what their children are feeling, and that understanding what they are feeling and why can create a bond between you that is unparalleled.

3. Build in a few extra minutes to your day

Whether you are rushing out the door for school in the morning, loading up for big brother’s baseball practice, or just heading out to run errands with kids in tow, building in a few minutes can make transitions much less painful for both you and your children and can provide crucial opportunities for bonding.

4. Be positive role models

It's true: Moms are not perfect, and it’s a given that we will make mistakes as we learn and grow alongside of our kids. But Blaine says it’s important to remember that in addition to teaching our children, we are also serving as their constant role models. By labeling and talking about emotions, she says, your child learns that emotions are manageable, and he will feel comfortable expressing them in an appropriate manner. And that includes admitting when you’re wrong and saying that you’re sorry.

5. Let your kids be themselves

Have you ever stopped to consider how your children's individual temperaments affect the way you connect with one another? When it comes to kids, parenting and discipline are not a one-size-fits-all bargain. You have to respect your children for who they are. This includes honoring the ways they are different from one another and different from you. For example, if you are a social butterfly with a son who is painfully shy, you have to respect that in him and not try to force your own behaviors and habits on him.

6. Replace your anger with empathy

Kids can certainly test the tempers of even the most mild-mannered mothers. When tantrums take over and tempers flare, it can be a constant challenge to keep your cool. But Blaine says to pick your battles and know that nothing is so important that it warrants extreme anger and coerciveness with your child. If you need to, walk away and take a deep breath, then return to your child to start over. And if you do lash out, don’t avoid the issue or act as if it never happened because this only teaches children to deny their own poor behavior.

7. Take time for yourself on a regular basis

On special holidays like Mother’s Day, moms are often treated with a little “free” time to do something for themselves. However, most mothers get caught up in the hectic schedule of everyday life and neglect to take time out for themselves on a regular basis, which Blaine says can be a big parenting no-no. It doesn’t always have to be a big event; simply tacking on 30 extra minutes to an errand to grab a latte or flip through magazines at the bookstore can work wonders for restoring your sanity and recharging your batteries.

“As a mom, the emotional connection I share with my kids is irreplaceable,” says Blaine. “And no amount of flowers or gifts on Mother’s Day would ever compare. Instead of putting all your energy into one day, make small, gradual changes over time. It’s the very best gift you can give to yourself and your children—and it will make every day feel like the celebration of motherhood you deserve.”

Make an effort to meaningfully ocnnect with your kids and have a happy Mother's Day -- every day.

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