Hopefully, you and your children have gotten back into the swing of their school schedule. Unfortunately, though, living by a schedule makes it easy to get into a rut after school starts; you get busy with work, and your children are busy with homework and after school activities. Some nights, you might feel like roommates rather than parent and child.

Here are a few small ways to make a big impact in your children’s lives:

Eat together. There isn’t always time every day for everyone to sit around the table and eat dinner together. If you have kids that are busy with practice or after school activities, it can be even more difficult. Make an effort to eat at least one meal together every day. If you know your son has a football game after school on Friday, make sure to eat breakfast together.

Ask open-ended questions. Huffington Post suggests asking questions that force your child to give more in-depth answers than “yes, no, and good.” For example:

  • What did Mrs. Johnson talk to you about today?
  • What was your favorite activity today?
  • What made you laugh today?
  • Is anything bothering you at school?

These questions will make talking to your children about school easier. It will also show them that you are interested in what they are doing during the day when you are away from each other.

Maintain balance between your work and home. Keeping your career and home life balanced can be difficult. Your children will notice if you are continually putting work obligations before them; this can cause them to resent both you and your job. In order to prevent this from occurring, Parents suggests you establish boundaries. If your son has a football game after work and your boss asks you to work late, tell her you can’t. If you are talking with your child after school or having dinner, turn off your phone and give your kids your undivided attention. The same goes for work. Tell your family that, barring an emergency, they should allow you to focus on your job while you’re away.

Leave them notes. If you can’t be home when your children are getting home from school, leave them a note telling them that you love them. On some days, you could leave a special after-school snack or a thinking-of-you card. You can also place notes for them to find in their school bags. That way, your children know that even if you can’t be there, you are still thinking of them.

Your relationship with your children is like any other relationship—sometimes a little work is required to keep it healthy. You will find it is well worth the effort.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at reka@omaha-counseling.com, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Summer path via photopin (license)