My husband travels a lot. When he’s away we speak daily through Skype or FaceTime. He’s part of our dinner conversations, although through a screen. It’s great when he gets back and we’re delighted that he’s safe and back at our nest. But there’s no shying away from it. There’s always that slight tension between happiness and the awkwardness of reconnecting again. And the longer he’s been away, the more tangible the awkwardness.
But I’m happy to report that I think we’ve figured it out. We’ve learned to embrace the process of re-connecting, even if we have to do it time and time again.
There are two things that works like magic to push away the awkwardness and deepen the connection. And these are TIME and TOUCH.
- Being in the moment. Setting aside all preconceived ideas and agenda and meeting your love ones where they are – physically and emotionally.
- Being present. Unplugging from social media. Closing down all electronics. Your phone, your computer, the TV, everything that will interfere with you and your loved ones.
(Don’t fear. You don’t have to commit to hours of undivided attention. What works is pockets of time – 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there.)
- Physical touch. Hugs, cuddles, kisses and tickles.
- Physical play. Play-fight, roll on the floor, throw your child up in the air, blow raspberries on her tummy, bounce her on your knee, jump on the bed, have a pillow fight, chase her around the house and pretend to eat her when you catch her, pretend to fly when you run through the house with him on your back, play horsey-horsey with him sitting on your back. The list goes on.
All of these games releases a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Physical touch and play reduces stress and promotes positive emotions like joy and delight.
It’s interactive and builds close connections between children and parents. It also builds emotional intelligence, increased confidence and make kids loveable and likable and physically fit.
“…let us continue to love each other since love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7 (MSG)
Love is work. But oh, so beautiful and worthwhile.
Over to you:
What is your favourite rough-and-tumble game?