I’ve spoken before about how I think it’s important to always look happy when you see your children.
Whether the kids are walking in from school or I’m picking them up from Cubs, I try to look ridiculously excited to see them. Sometimes I have to fake it – sometimes I wish they were gone for another hour, but they don’t need to know that. In the morning, I try really hard to give a ‘good morning’ hug before saying “Why aren’t you dressed yet?” or “Did you make your bed?”
As your kids enter the tween stage, warm farewells and greetings are less common. We all know the apathetic teen/tween wave as we announce we are home. Often they barely look up from their iPods or books. It’s certainly a far cry from the running child screaming “Mama you’re HOME!” of days gone by.
Greetings and farewells are important. I’ve had a few reminders of this lately, remarkably, two of them from my tweens.
1) Last week, I greeted my youngest as he came toddling down the stairs one morning, all delicious with his blonde curls a mess and rubbing his sleepy eyes. My 11-year-old commented: “Mom, did you know that your eyes just lit up when you saw Finnie coming down the stairs?” I suppose I did know, but was quite delighted she noticed my reaction to her baby brother.
2) My eldest was talking about someone at school that he really likes. I asked what was so special about this friend and he said, “It’s kind of weird, but I really like her because whenever I arrive at school or walk in the classroom, she always greets me and is happy I am there. Most kids my age don’t greet each other.”
3) I was recently listening to Gretchen Rubin speak. She mentioned how her now tweens were no longer giving her a warm welcome when she walked in the door. Gretchen’s family (parents included!) committed to warm greetings and farewells, and this little change has had a big impact. Those few extra moments acknowledging each other have brought more happiness to their home.
It’s simple and so meaningful. It even matters to the moody tweens! How important are greetings and farewells around your home? Do you always extend the effort to your spouse/partner? I’d venture a guess that kids like seeing their parents’ eyes light up when they see each other as well.
Julie Cole is the co-founding VP of Mabel’s Labels, the leading provider of labels for the stuff kids lose!