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“3 Ways to Improve Connecting with Your Kids” Episode Overview
Larry Hagner and Shawn Stevenson talk about three ways to improve connecting with your kids. Listen as Shawn and Larry share their background and talk about what led them to coming together to create The Good Dad Project: Teaching men to strive to be better every day, living with purpose, on purpose.
Larry and Shawn share their personal stories and experiences growing up without biological fathers nor solid, stable father figures throughout their childhood and adolescence. Growing up with similar backgrounds, Shawn and Larry come together with amazing perspectives on what our kids are really looking for from their dads. Larry and Shawn share their insights, strategies, and three tips to improve connecting with your children and partners.
The Pendulum Effect
Life is a large growing process full of learning experiences and lessons that help shape us into the people are today. Our earliest teachers are our parents. Particularly through our interactions and relationships with parents, we realize for ourselves what to do and what not to do — we learn through modeled behavior. We can either become like our parents or the complete opposite of them. By choosing whether or not to incorporate personality traits and behavior characteristics, striving to be the best version of ourselves, we can learn strategies and tips to become better parents to our own children, better life partners, and better in our other relationships. Just like the instructions about using oxygen masks on airplanes in emergencies: There’s nothing selfish about filling up your tank first, self care, before giving to others. You and your relationships deserve the best version of you.
Tip #1: Disconnecting Mentally & Emotionally from Your Workday
Have you ever pulled up in your driveway at the end of the day feeling stressed and burned out from your work? The trouble with that is that we can’t give 100% or the best version of ourselves, our peak energy state, to our children and life partner — you have nothing left but the leftover “stuff” to give. What do you do?
You mentally, physically, emotionally prep, much like a comparison to getting ready for playing in a sporting event or going in for a big job interview. Go through the motions of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Instead of going on autopilot, realize you can change the way you think and feel before you walk through the door of your home. Make the decision to do something different.
Here are two strategies Larry and Shawn share:
- Take 1-5 minutes in your car when you arrive home or the last 5-10 minutes of your commute to spend thinking about what your evening or day will look like when you walk in the door. Visualize how you will greet your kids and partner.
- Listen to something positive on your way home, instead of the news (or “the blues”). It could be some uplifting, inspiring music — or even this podcast. Music stimulates bioelectrical vibrational waves in our brains that can help affect mood. Saturate yourself with something that makes you feel good, empowered, and reconnect with coming home as the best part of your day.
Tip #2: Do Something to Change Everyone Else’s State
After you walk in the door, greet the members of your family with a high five or a hug and a kiss. The joy of connecting with kids can especially be seen when you have a young child — the excitement and happiness they have when you come home. Proactively do something fun or funny, a little crazy or silly, and interesting. Turn up the music and dance. Wrestle with your kids or fling them around. These acts release endorphins and perks the rest of home up. Greeting your loved ones also helps set the mood for the rest of the night after you come home.
Tip #3: Disconnect from Technology
Disconnect from texting, emails, social media, screen time when you arrive home. Unplug yourself from the hours of 5-9 or 7-9 at night, unless it’s an emergency. Instead, spend that time with your family. Have an agreement with your loved ones that you all will not be on your mobile devices or computers for a set amount of time each evening. One way to keep this new habit consistently practiced is to turn your phone off (or put it on silent) and not keep it right on or by yourself. Create a technology-free environment in your home by training to use electronic devices at certain times.
According to a Rensselaer Polytechnic study, using a mobile device or computer just 2 hours before bed is enough to drastically suppress your melatonin secretion. Do you wake up tired? Melatonin is a hormone that aids in sleep and is important to have a proper wake-sleep cycle. Not only that, but the constant notifications, especially when we’re trying to sleep gives us a dopamine hit, which wakes us up and keeps us mentally alert for longer — and makes it harder for us to fall asleep and have a good rest. You can also pre-diagnose how and where your relationships are going to go by observing when and how often someone uses technology. Have you ever been on a date with someone new, and afterwards could only seem to recall the high number of times your date was on her/his phone? Have you ever seen a family who were all on their devices at once for a long period of time, and then wondered how well, if at all, they actually communicated with one another face-to-face? Be considerate and remember you’re modeling behavior for your children. Learn how to keep technology in its proper place: We have to use our electronic devices and don’t let them use us.
Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE
Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS
- Amazon Bestselling Book: The Dad’s Edge – 9 Simple Ways to Have: Unlimited Patience, Improved Relationships, and Positive Lasting Memories
- Larry’s New Course: The Dad’s Edge – 6 Strategies to Achieve: Unlimited Patience, Improved Relationships, and Positive Lasting Memories
- Larry’s Twitter Page
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- Shawn’s Website
- Shawn’s Twitter Page
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- Shawn’s Instagram Page
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