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Connecting with Kids in a Disconnected World

What does it mean to live in a disconnected world? There are dramatic implications for kids of all ages. Fortunately, you can foster positive connection with your kids through these tips and strategies.

One of the biggest challenges facing families is the disconnected world right under our noses. Never before has the world been so digitally connected yet so humanly detached. Connecting with kids in a disconnected world has never been more important than it is right now.

Children and parents are often far-removed from one another, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way. As parents, you have the perfect opportunity to deepen your relationships with your children. 

What Does It Mean to be Disconnected?

The definition of “Disconnection” is “the state of isolation or detachment.” When I became a mom, I decided that I would intentionally connect and build a relationship with my children all through their growing up years. Even more, I desperately prayed that my children would be friends as well. 

Our children are hardwired for connection. In fact, every single human being, whether young or old, need meaningful connections for emotional, mental and physical well-being. It is simply how God made us. He placed deep within humanity the need for relationships.

As children, we naturally look for ways to make connections. These connections help us learn about the world around us. We touch, observe, ask hundreds of questions, curiously exploring what we see. With these connections, we create neurological pathways. And it is these links that bring us together.

Connecting with Kids in Different Ages and Stages

The different ages and stages of childhood require different tactics. And in this disconnected world, we have to be even more intentional to engage in meaningful interactions with our teens. 

Age 0-3

With toddlers in tow, it’s easy to play and interact with them. Take time to play purposefully with your children. Engage in messy play, dance, and make memories. To this day, my children remember baking gingerbread cookies with me during the month of December, and it began when they were toddlers. This sets the foundation for years to come.

It all adds up: the language you use in your home, the prayers, games, and interactions all count.

Age 4-8

When your kids reach preschool or the first years of elementary, their personalities begin to shine through more and more. This is a wonderful opportunity to begin to connect with your kids before they become too entrenched in a disconnected world. Look for ways that you can connect with your children through art, crafts, and creating things in your home.

If you have a particularly creative child, consider creating an art journal journal together. You can go the traditional art journal route or change things up and have a journal that you pass back and forth throughout the week. For older kids in this age and stage, consider introducing them to knitting, sewing, or needle-point.

Age 9-12

When your children enter the middle school years and puberty becomes a reality, the dynamics begin to change. I realized that I had to adapt in the way I related to my teens, not the other way around. There were many times when I knew I needed to spend time seeking God’s heart and clarity on how to connect with my son and daughter.

No Case is Too Weird!

The community of Ambrosia offers some big mysteries for such a small town. But four young sleuths are up to the challenge. Your kids can join Mike, Winnie, Spence, and Ben as they face all the intrigue that the Arizona badlands can throw at them. The Last Chance Detectives are on the case!

Purpose of Connecting with Kids

Intentional parenting and connecting with your kids go together. Parenting with a plan means that you prioritize where you put your time and energy. Those priorities then guide your day-to-day decision-making and commitments. And in this case, it’s fighting against the disconnected reality by building meaningful connections with your children.

First off, parent with the end in mind. Take time to think and pray about long-term outcomes. But also consider what positive changes you want to see in your family during this next year. It could be more laughter, meaningful conversations around the table, engaging outings together, and deeper relationships. 

Once you and your spouse come to agreement on the goals, then clearly share your vision with your children. You could say something like, “I want us to have some fun this next week together as a family and build on our relationships. What do you want to do?” Yes, they might groan or roll their eyes, but deep down, your children desire your love. 

Thirdly, understand what’s happening in the world right now. Children naturally have keen discernment and will notice your attitudes. When you cultivate a culture of trust, honor, and joy in your home, then they will be open to conversations about life and the world. These moments all add up treasured memories for years to come. 

Fourth, make sure that you remain adaptable and self-aware. Let your children set the pace if doing family activities together is something new. Start off with easy wins such as cooking a meal together or cleaning your home with everyone involved.

Who and what we are teaches our children more than what we say. If we want our children to connect with us, then we begin the journey first by taking that initial step.

10 Ideas for Connecting with Your Kids in a Disconnected World

Focus on connecting with your children this season and see your relationship with them grow by trying a few of the ideas mentioned below:

1. Slow down long enough to listen to your children. Be present. Show up 100% by paying attention to when you are only half-present with your children.

2. Put devices away for an agreed time. Turn off technology when you are focusing on being with your child. Whether they are 2 or 20, they need your undivided attention.

3. Surprise them with quality time. We recently told our children that we have an evening planned for them and that they need to be ready at 6:30 pm. No other information was given. And it’s a joy to see them become curious about our family activity. 

4. Pray together.

5. Serve together. Consider finding a place where you could volunteer as a family.

6. Ask for ideas. When your children are involved in the planning, there’s a greater chance for engagement. 

7. Cook together. Laugh, play music and dance around the kitchen and experiment with a new meal. 

8. Create family rituals. For example, when we are away on vacation together, we normally go for a family morning swim. It’s not an option, and we began this ritual when our children were toddlers, now in their late teens, they even tell their friends that this is what is expected. It’s fun and light-hearted.

9. Aim for 10-15 hugs or touches a day – As family therapist Virginia Satir famously said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

10. Make time for one-on-one moments. Plan ‘dates’ with your children. I took my daughter to the beach recently, just her and I. At one point, she turned to me and said, “Aaah Mom, we finally have our mother-daughter date. We swam, both read a book lying on the beach with our phones packed it away.” Parents, be creative and consider the age of your children when scheduling those specific one-on-one moments. 

Final Thoughts on Connecting with Your Kids

Finally, connect with your children by loving them well. Love heals, restores, empowers and encourages. John 13:34 reads, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. May your family continue to develop a culture focused on deep love, connection, joy and peace.

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Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

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