Why I Will Never Go Broke Spending Love

Love is the currency I use to purchase the time I spend bonding with and supporting my child. Showing love and support for your child rarely rests on the material things you can afford to buy for them. Love and support manifest in the things you do together. When asked, what do you want to do today? My son responds, “I just want to spend time with you mom.”

I recall the infant stage, the toddler stage, and the terrible twos with all the material things my child possessed and how he still gravitated toward me more than to his room which was a Disney Playground, loaded with electronics, toys, puzzles, cars, glowing stars and all the things a child could want. My child is now 12-years old and even now as a preteen he communicates to me that if he is with me, it doesn’t matter what we do, he just loves the time we spend together. Proud mom moment.

Below is a short list of the things we do or have done together which are also things that you can do with your child to create and strengthen the bond that you have with them while you show love and support for what they do.

We play games together: Some of our favorite games include Chess, Checkers, Dominoes, Jenga, Connect Four, Card games – He loves I Declare War. Games are a good way to gauge your child’s level of sportsmanship as well as promote positivity in healthy competition and teamwork at any age. Find a game that works for you and your child or learn a new one together.

We build things together: We have always loved to build using Legos and have been doing so since before he was able to talk or walk. It was our thing from the very beginning, and it still is! If not built with Legos, we use anything we can find in our environment, be it in a park, inside our house, in the backyard or out at the pool. This is a wonderful way to look inside and to increase your child’s ability to be resourceful, in watching them improvise putting things together and making use of things they have in their possession or immediate surroundings.

We write together: My son has the creative imagination to write. However, he would rather tell me the story and have me write it down. He makes a great narrator. I continue to encourage him to write by giving him prompts to finish a story. When presenting it to him in this way, he gets excited about the task. When we share a story, it provides residual laughter that only the two of us can understand. It’s like having a coded language or a secret entrance into discussions. Sometimes you must be extra creative in getting them to write without them knowing you are honing their skill.

Read together: Although my child has grown out of the books that he used as a toddler and have stepped into more complex versions of stories, we use those old books to break down reading processes, use of words exploring poetry and literature- cadence and metaphors.  It’s just an exercise to keep his creative mind open to books and reading while entertaining advanced arts. It’s an area I would like to see him excel in, so I continue to gently put it in front of him. Reading Matters!

Walk together: Parks will forever be my favorite and so will beaches and trails as we love the great outdoors. Parks have been a staple for us all his life and it holds a special place with me because the park itself provided us a free place to go to meet people and for him to interact with other children, and to build social skills as I kicked back on a picnic blanket and allowed time to wistfully play itself away. I am happy to know that parks and walks are also still on his list of top things to do with me.

Cook and bake together: If I am in the kitchen, so is my child. I value the time we spend in the kitchen because not only am I showing him how to do something, but I am also giving him the tools to do it himself. He learns in the kitchen. We enjoy baking cookies, cupcakes, and when he passes me the measuring cup with the accurate measurement of the ingredient, he feels useful, and it fills a purpose.

DIY projects: My son is a part of the generation where social media can sometimes consume him and that is inevitable. I have found a way to incorporate that into the time we spend together. Rather my child sneak around and have a social media page, I have managed being a part of it and in doing so, it gives me the opportunity to monitor what he’s doing there so that I can stay ahead of things. Instead of randomly scrolling content that is harmful or of no use, we look for DIY projects that are safe and fun to re-create.

Swimming: If I could, I would teach the world to swim. It is another fan fav of ours. Teaching safety and professional level survival techniques to my child is important to me because of the drowning statistics that claim the lives of many people. Swimming is also a great way to exercise and cool down at the same time. It’s a fun activity and a passion that we share. When you do things with your child, it opens the door for the following to occur.

CONVERSATIONS: We hold conversations with a healthy exchange of dialogue not just small talk, and we never run out of topics: Sometimes deep and sometimes surface, my son and I have safe words and safe conversations when we are together as I’ve created an atmosphere for him to be comfortable sharing how he feels. Rather than force conversations, I invite conversations by leaving an open door and having an open mind for his emotions to exist and I believe this is also why he is as open with me when he expresses himself. We share reasoning and logic, perspective, and perceptions. In doing this, it provides another lane for me to continue getting to know my child while he continues to grow. When he knows that he can be honest with me, it opens an entire universe for understanding into truly knowing my child in ways that others don’t have access to. Together, we practice what it is to be an active listener so that we can hear what the other person is saying in a conversation.

Other things we converse about: We share discourse about bullying and the significance of always keeping parents informed. We talk about the emphasis of having good manners at home, in public and at the dinner table. We hash over what it is to have self-respect and respect for others (elders, authority figures, women, etc.). We talk about acts of kindness, giving and charities and what it means to show gratitude and thankfulness, how to demonstrate compassion and what humility means. We share how our day has been while at school/work for him and me respectfully and how we can make tomorrow better by improving as individuals and as a family.

We talk about Money and Investing: Yes, I get into teaching the value of money, spending, investing. We talk about business ownership and entrepreneurship, the relevance of customer/client service and customer retention. We have a business and I use it to expose him to real-life situations and scenarios that may arouse during business ownership and how to be a successful businessman who exercise policies in inclusion, equality, and fairness.

So no, I’m not at a shopping mall buying shoes and clothes all the time. And I’m not pitching expensive video game consoles and games and electronics.  I am constantly and consistently showing love, care, support and protection, guidance and what all those things mean- by doing it, being a consistent example instead of a constant contradiction.

Our photos and videos memorialize and document our times together and often we revisit them, recalling stories of those days to make sure they remain stained on his memory and impressed upon his heart that I was not just present in his life for his entire life but that I never missed a beat when it came to showing love and support, teaching and being a good example. I will continue to do so, no matter how old he gets.

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