Share Your Story: Smuckers Kidvitations

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Smuckers.

I’m not sure where I first got the idea of putting notes in our little man’s lunchbox. I know that it wasn’t any sort of original concept, so my best guess is that I probably saw Claire Huxtable put a note in one of her kids’ lunchboxes on The Cosby Show when I was younger. Of course I wasn’t consciously trying to pick up parenting tips from a TV show when I was, you know, thirteen, but I’ve never been one to underestimate the lasting influence of a family sitcom.

I mean, do you know how many times I’ve thought about Jan Brady running into the family portrait on her bicycle when I’m trying to teach our son about being responsible?



Regardless of where the idea originated, I first started putting notes in Alex’s lunches when he was in Mothers’ Day Out. At the time he couldn’t really read, of course, so I’d just draw a big heart and then sign “Mama” at the bottom. When he started four year-old kindergarten and was recognizing a few words, I moved up to “Alex – I love you, Mama” – and the notes have gotten more elaborate over the last couple of years. He always thanks me for the notes when I pick him up from school, and lots of times I’ll find the notes when I unpack his lunchbox – with little jelly or Cheetos fingerprints all along the edges.

Last year Alex ate in the school cafeteria a good bit (I have NO IDEA why, but he really gets a kick out of going through the lunch line), so I didn’t pack lunches nearly as often. But at the end of the school year, his class had a field day, and since the cafeteria was going to be closed that day, the teachers asked us to send a lunch to school.

It just so happened that the week of field day was a hard one for us because our dog Maggie died. She hadn’t been well for awhile, and I don’t think any of us were prepared for how difficult it was when she finally passed away. Alex took her death particularly hard – it was the first time he’s ever had to say good-bye to something he loved – and the week was filled with hard questions and hard answers. We talked a lot about the fact that there’s purpose in every single thing that happens in our lives, and we talked about how grateful we were that we got to share life with Maggie.

But oh, how he cried. And oh, how he missed her.

When I was packing his lunch the Friday morning of field day, I decided to stick a note inside. I tried to make it upbeat and comforting because I knew how much his little heart was still hurting. And sure enough, when I picked him up from school that afternoon, he said, “Thanks, Mama, for the note you sent me. It made me smile.”

A few days ago I asked Alex why he likes it so much when I send him little notes, and he said, “Because when I’m thinking about you at school, the note reminds me that you’re thinking about me, too.” It’s such a small thing to do – it literally takes less than a minute – but I really do believe that that kind of intentional, loving communication with our kids reaps huge benefits. If you’ve ever written a note to your child(ren), you know that you can see the joy all over their face when they read it.

After the little guy and I talked for a few minutes about lunchbox notes, I had a hunch. Since field day was the last lunch I packed this past school year – and since he told me at the end of that day that he threw away all of his trash at school – I wondered if maybe he held onto the note when lunch was over. So I went in the pantry, pulled the lunchbox off the shelf, and sure enough, I found what I suspected that I would.

He kept it.

Bless his heart.

To celebrate the ways that moms connect with their kids over lunch – whether it’s by putting a note in a lunchbox or making special plans to sit in the backyard and eat sandwiches together – Smuckers has created a really neat program called Kidvitations. It’s a way for parents to intentionally make mealtimes special – and I think it’s awesome. I also think that you and your kids are going to love it.

If you’d like to enter to win a $200 Visa gift card, leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite ways to connect with the children in your life.

There are also Smuckers roundup page.

And if you enjoy a little light reading, you’re sure to be delighted by the Smuckers official rules.

This giveaway will run through August 23rd, at which point I’ll use to select a winner.

Can’t wait to read your comments!

Create a Kidvitation!

Home can be a busy place with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. That’s why it’s important to set time aside to spend with your kids. Use Smuckers® Kidvitations to invite your kids to share a moment with you over a perfect PB&J. Check it out.

This giveaway is now closed.

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  1. I enjoy our bedtime routine- reading stories, talking, laughing. It is our time to reconnect.

  2. i put down whatever it is i’m doing and get on their level. when all three of my children are busy playing together, i love to just plop down and do what they’re doing. whether or not it’s educational! :0)

  3. I love the moments before bedtime, when my kids love to talk (if only to delay!). They seem so open to share things about their day, then we pray together before sleep.

  4. My kids are grown now…but the best way for me to “reach out to them” is a text! They can’t believe their mama “texts” them. Really? I’m not THAT old!

  5. although it is NOT the healthiest (and I have the hips to prove it), I adore the time I spend with all 3 boys on Saturday mornings for our donut run. everybody gets the donut they want and we spend part of the morning talking & laughing.

  6. adrienne says:

    My girl just finished kinder this year. She saved all the notes I sent home. Easy way to connect while we’re apart!

  7. Mary Helen says:

    I have one on-the-way, but my niece Jenna is 13 months old and I love playing peek-a-boo with her! Obviously, I have not gotten to the lunch notes phase yet, but I am really looking forward to it!

  8. I have a journal that I keep for my daughter. I write all about our days, what she is up to, and my personal thoughts on big issues. I will give it to her to read when she is older. I think it will be special for her to read about her life in my words.

  9. My daughter and I cook together at least twice a week. It is our girl-time.

    My son (3) is still big on the snuggling, which is fine with Mommy!

  10. Emily F says:

    I’m nursing my darling firstborn, and that is the sweetest, most connected time we have right now. When she gets done she “sings” to me (ooooo, ohhhhh, etc), and I sing right back. I love it!

  11. I, too, leave notes. I found at Target once di-cut shaped notes specifically for lunchboxes. Those were fun too. I also suprise them by using seasonal cookie cutters for thier sandwiches.

  12. Cynthia says:

    Since we home school and still have 5 of our children at home I have to work for the special/personal/one-on-one times with them. I try to send each of my youngest a Facebook message every week and we text frequently (often from in the house!). We also email. Teens enjoy this kind of message. I enjoy any kind of message from them!

  13. I love sharing with my girls stories from when I was little. Yesterday I bought her Mickey Mouse Uno and told her that I would teach her how to play it just like my grandma taught me. We played for about an hour last night and when her daddy came home the first thing she told him was that mommy taught her game that she used to play with MeMaw. I know she feels closer to me when she hears stories about me just like I do when I hear stories about my mom and grandma.

  14. Family dinners, story time, and bedtime chats

  15. Heather says:

    My son is 14 and I still snuggle with him at night before bed to talk about whatever he needs to talk about. My favorite part of the day!

  16. Well. As a teacher to 18 little ones, I try to connect with each of them as much as possible. Some days the connection is hard, though…no lie. The line leader of the day and I usually share a good convo on the way to and from the classroom. Also, lunch time in the cafeteria usually offers no shortage of interesting conversations. By the end of the school year we all know each other deeply and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  17. Lorinda Morey says:

    My “kids” are all grown ups now, with busy lives so I send them a good night text before I go to sleep. Sometimes they answer and sometimes they don’t – it doesn’t matter. I feel I have reached out and touched them and let them know they are loved. I praise God for cell phones!

  18. I have 2 teenagers and a 10 year old. They are at a great age where I’m starting to see the people they are going to be and we can talk about what they hope for their future. I like one on one time with them whether it be out to lunch, playing cards, a bike ride for ice cream or just sitting in their room talking all night.

  19. Well, my sweet boys are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and thankfully I haven’t had to pack any lunches yet because they’re almost always with me for lunch:) One of my favorite ways to connect with them while we eat is to all hold hands and listen to my big boy’s sweet heartfelt prayers of blessing.

  20. Walking together.

  21. pamtastic says:

    We have 4 kids and during dinner we like to play the High – Low Game. Each person tells their “high” (best thing about their day) and their “low” (worst thing about their day. It’s funny to hear their perspective on things.

  22. Reading – I love reading with my boys. Some nights the Bible story leads to great conversations and questions epecially with my 6 yr old. BTW – i also do the note thing in lunches. Not always but sometimes. My mom used to do that too. I’d find notes in lunches, notes in suitcases, etc. It was always a nice surprise. She even had one in my college things that I found unpacking. (that’s been a while ago!)

  23. We love to read, sing and discuss our day each night at bedtime.

    Another favorite time is when riding in the car to practices and activities. Lots of funny stories come out then!!!!

  24. We play 5 questions every night at bed time with each of my kids. It starts off with my daughter (or son) and they get to ask any 5 questions they want about anything that they are thinking. I get questions like why is there is sun or how did God make chocolate to serious ones like why was so and so mean to me at school today. When they are done I get to ask 5 questions about anything I want. It’s a great way for us to connect at the end of the day.

  25. I leave notes for my kids on the fridge when I’m going out of town and sometimes I write THEM letters on Mother’s Day letting them know how happy I am to be their mom.

  26. My 7 year old son thinks he is much older than 7, so he won’t let me put notes in his lunch anymore. “It’s embarassing!” But he still cuddles with me when we read a chapter from a book at night. Plus we all eat dinner together every night and I make them play high & low. They complain most of the time, but I know they secretly love it!!

  27. Heather says:

    I love the end of the day when I get to spend some one on one time with my little man. We usually snuggle in bed and just talk about anything he wants to. It’s his calmest part of the day and I can actually hold him in my arms! Great way to end the day!

  28. We love to get our books and get in the bed and snuggle and read!

  29. My children are all grown up and live far away, so these days we usually connect via phone calls, email, text messages and web cam.

  30. Frances says:

    We still have dinner at the dinner table at least 4 nights a week – this is often diffficult with a husband who works unlimited overtime hours and two teenagers. Also, when I pack their lunches, I write notes on the napkins I put in their lunches.

  31. I don’t have children of my own, but I love to take my nieces an nephews (ages 18, 15, 10, 7, and 6) on Aunt Kristi days. They love getting the one on one attention and I love getting to see their personalities apart from their siblings. They think it’s a treat for them, but I think I enjoy it more.

  32. nanette lynch says:

    My husband and I both did the notes in our daughters lunch while they were in school. Now they are young adults and we text each other during the day with one liner family inside jokes/songs/prayer needs etc!

  33. I connect with my kids when we play one-on-one. My son loves the attention he gets when we play a board game together; with my one-year-old, we’re usually building and knocking down towers or lining up the little people and knocking them down.

  34. We just added “pray with mom” to their morning chore list, and I love it. It makes me pray over each of them specifically.

  35. One way I connect with my oldest daughter (who is 7) is through baking. She is my baking buddy through and through. We have a blast making cookies, cake, brownies, muffins, pies, almost anything. Our second daughter is almost three, and she is joining us in baking now, too. She is oh. so. proud of what we bake together. Our youngest daughter just turned two, and we connect by doing some simple crafts, playing with baby dolls, dancing to music, and reading books. So fun to have three little girls!

  36. I have a 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I love bedtime with my son. We read several books and a bible story and then we each kneel by his bed and take turns praying, thanking God for all that we have. He always ends it by climbing in bed and frantically saying, “I need hugs and kisses!”…melts my heart! I also love to pray over my children at night while they’re sleeping. It’s such a sweet moment.

  37. Since I have a girl, shopping is always a good way to enjoy each other. For all my kids – making popcorn is a great way to break the ice and get them talking. We also like to play lots of cards and board games.

  38. Marianne G says:

    Sadly, my children are well past the “lunch packing days.” We do, however, eat dinner together as often as possible and we enjoy going to the movies together. Enjoy your children while they are young, for in only the blink of an eye, they are young adults ready to conquer the world!

  39. The four of us pile into Chan’s bed for prayers every night. Chan is first; I am second, and Sissy is third. Dad closes for us. Something about this ritual and the closeness of the bodies is VERY comforting. Also, I get to hear what is on my children’s minds. :-)

  40. I like the time I’m tucking them into their beds at night. They each go to their own rooms and it’s a special time for me to get to talk to them one on one and hear about their day. It’s a special bonding moment.

  41. I also write notes on napkins or paper for their lunch box. Another favorite is writing them a letter on their birthdays. Especially the “bigger” ones. 10…13….and soon to be 16!! I tell them how much they are loved and how wonderful they are growing up, etc….they keep those too!

  42. i always loved reading to my kids when they were smaller..

  43. Lori A. says:

    I love connecting at night when I’m putting them to bed…it’s such a sweet time and individual time just quietly chatting about the day and what’s to come and lots of snuggling. :)
    ljatwood at gmail dot com

  44. I have always tried to find ways to let my “boys” know that I was there for them if they wanted to talk…about anything. Now they are 23 and 31 and they email me, call me (sometimes daily) and try to get together when-ever physically possible because we all live in different cities now. I just mailed my oldest son a book on building treehouses because he has always had a secret desire for one. He posted a thank you on facebook and said he was so surprised because he has wanted to do it every-since he saw the movie “Swiss Family Robinson” as a kid. We have daily conversations about hard topics like politics and religion on FB by sharing stories, videos and comments. For my youngest son, he had test anxiety the entire time he was in HS and College so when he was at home I put notes in his lunches and reminded him to “put his hand on his heart and to give it up to God” to relieve his anxiety before a test. He continued to do this even in College and told me about it when he graduated with his Aerospace Engineering degree. Other ways that I connected with my boys…was throught there STOMACHS…LOL They love to eat and I always cooked with them and for them to make sure that they ate well and then could think and feel better whn they were in school. NOW I’m compiling a “cook-book” on my blog for them called “Yummy in My Tummy” so that they have access to all their favorite recipes. Just being with them during meals or on the phone or via the internet and LISTENING to them so that they feel validated is the best thing. Boys sometimes have trouble communicating…ya know when you ask them “what’s wrong honey?” and they say “nothin”. But if you just hug them when they come in the door, and offer them a snack, a meal or a cup of coffee and give them their space…then they start talking about their day and before you know it…you learn that their boss questioned them or their teachers didn’t call on them or their friends didn’t ask them something, etc. Hope this helps all the mom’s out there trying to communicate with their lovely sons, soon to be fantastic men! Fondly, Roberta

  45. I love the time in the morning when I am packing my daughters lunch and I think about her eating it at school and knowing that her mommy made it special just for her

  46. OK, I just got back from kindergarten orientation with my oldest son and I am sitting here BAWLING like a baby over this post!!!!! I LOVE this idea, and I’m going to start this coming week. I love eating dinner with my children and reading bedtime stories….

    thanks for the great post… still teary..

  47. My children are older now (20 and 16) and both are still at home. The best way for me to connect with them at this stage in their life is to be available to listen when they are ready to talk! Some of the greatest conversations we have is when they are doing all the talking and I am listening. :)

  48. Lindsey says:

    My little guy and I connect often at lunchtime, as it is one of few times of stillness during a busy day. We have been memorizing his verses for Sunday school and talking about what they mean. Sweet conversations!!

  49. Saturday mornings we give our kids “coffee” (splash of coffee lots of milk and sugar) and they absolutely squeal for it! They have their own little mugs and it makes them feel so special to share something they see mom and dad have everyday.

  50. I love to go on dates with my son. Taking him out to eat or to the park for a picnic and just talking about what is going on in life is simply bliss! :)

  51. I think it is fun to leave comments on my kids’ Facebook pages. Let’s them know Mom loves them!


  52. At the moment I just put my hand on my tummy and press back when he kicks me! In a few months I’ll have my first chance to connect in person. :)

  53. I don’t have a child of my own, but I send cards to my special kiddos often — they love getting real mail! And I love getting to tell them that “Marty loves you!”

  54. I always prayed with my kids before they got on the bus!

  55. Oh, I love to sit on my daughter’s bed with her right after she wakes up in the morning. We open the blinds and the curtain on the window right by her bed. We sit there and look out. We talk about the day or whatever she has on her mind. Sometimes we just sit and cuddle before getting up. :)

  56. I love that our family makes dinner time a priority. Even when our days are hectic and VBS nights are upon us, we try to always sit down together as a family and share about our days.

    With kids ages 6, 4, 4, 2, (almost) 2 and 4 months, our days are not always verbalized eloquently but we ask and they tell and I believe that’s what’s important. You know? I’m sure you do.

  57. Tammy Elrod says:

    In the evening, we like to turn off the TV, bring the dog in and play with him and the kids until it’s time for bed.

  58. I agree that technology is wonderful. My 8 are all grown, most married and grandbabies all over the place and in the oven! We facebook, talk on our cells and email.

  59. My sons are 38, 34 and 28 so I don’t pack their lunches anymore :)
    But every so often I’ll just text them during the day to see how they are.
    Ain’t technology great? lol


  60. i don’t have any kids of my own, but i do have one niece. she’s 15 months old and lives halfway across the country from me–but we loooove to video chat and that keeps us close. (she loves to try and share her food with me!)

  61. I like to plan special days with my niece and nephew. Since they are 5 and 7 and have different interests, I started doing a day per child. It’s just me and one of them. The highlight of the day is for them to pick what we do for the day. Playing Lego StarWars Wii is always at the top of my nephew’s list, and getting a mani-pedi is on my niece’s list. Good times! I hope they will treasure them one day as much as I do today.

  62. I like to connect with my child when we take Sunday drives out to the country and we always have great talks then.

  63. katherine says:

    Would you believe sending text messages? My kids are teenagers, and texts are a way to keep connected with them! I do miss the notes in the lunchboxes, though!

  64. My favorite times are when I snuggle with my girl at naptime, and we lay back and talk about…just whatever. Silly little things, things that delight her four-year-old heart.

  65. We had years of lunchbox notes, too. My daughter is grown up now, and our favorite “connection” moments are on Skype as she fills me in on her life as a teaching intern in Guatemala and I share my adventures as an Army wife in Germany.

  66. We love to have popcorn and movie night on a semi-regular basis! I’ve also been known to tuck a note or two into the lunchbox. Love it!

  67. What a sweet post, Boo Mama…blessed my heart. I enjoy doing devotions with my boys at night before bed. It’s a sweet time to share God’s word and talk a little about it, and to share whatever else is on our hearts. I have also put notes in lunch boxes on occasion. One Valentine’s Day, I baked a special heart-shaped brownie for each of my boys and my husband and made them a card, telling each one my ten favorite things about them. As my boys grow, I’ll admit, it’s harder to engage my teenager in those types of conversations. But, it’s important to keep finding creative ways to let him know that I love him. Sometimes making sure I’m available to listen on the rare occasion he wants to talk is one of the best “love languages” for him.

    Thanks for this!

  68. One of the best times I’ve had connecting with my kids is while traveling. There’s something about being cooped up in a car, with nothing to do but sit and drive, that helps us to relax and just be together. For that reason, we don’t do video games or DVDs in the car…although I certainly understand that they come in handy for busy moms traveling with little ones!

  69. Our daughter will be nine next month (NEXT MONTH!?) so we’re on the verge of tweendom. I love to just hang out with her on her bed at night with the lights out to talk about our day and what’s coming up. There’s no pressure and I’m hoping that by doing this now and enjoying it so much, it’ll be easier for us to stay connected in the coming years.

  70. when I’m home for vacation, I love to grab my younger cousins and take them out for a movie or ice cream or just something out of the ordinary (for them anyway). mom gets an afternoon to herself and the kids and I have a blast. I still giggle when I think of the time I took my younger cousins to see Nanny McPhee at the theatre. The youngest was 6 at the time and he spent the rest of the afternoon trying to affect a British accent. It was too cute.

  71. Leanne from Canada says:

    I started a tradition of picking them up from school on their birthday and taking them out to lunch to the restaurant of their choice. We have graduated from McDonalds finally!! I’ve also enjoyed reading to them at bedtime (even the teens enjoy this!).

  72. It’s not original, but I try to take my children on an mini-date each week. It might just be a quick run to the store, but spending one-on-one time with them regularly really gives me better insight into their hearts than when we do something all together as a family.

  73. Michelle says:

    Sharing while eating dinner around the table, one on one time with each of my children, throwing in little surprises here and there (like the spur of the moment trip to The Incredible Pizza Company yesterday).

  74. The kids are grown, but now I am making special connections with the grandkids, whether it is taking them out for lunch or dinner (1 at a time) or baking cookies with them.

  75. Chandra says:

    I’m definitely going to use this when my daughter starts school.

    I love prayer time with my kids. When we put them to bed at night I stay longer with each kid and we talk about whatever and say their prayers. It’s been a great way to connect with them.

  76. I don’t have kids, but when I hang out at dinner time with my best friend and her kids, we pull a question from a box of questions and talk about our answers. It’s fun to see what the kids say and they get to hear about our hopes and dreams as well.

  77. I love to put something special in from time to time such as a note or favorite candy. Sometimes I’ll cut the sandwich into a fun shape. Occassionally, I’ll include a unique memory we have together…a seashell, a river rock, etc.

    So simple, but I remember such warm feelings when my mother did the same.

  78. Kristen says:

    My kids are teens and tweens now but I still like to write them the occasional note. My oldest son and I communicate on Facebook now! We also really enjoy our family dinners. :)

  79. When possible, we like to start each morning with cuddle time. Then, at the end of the day, we share the good and bad that happened during the day.

  80. With three kids I constantly worry about not giving each of them enough of my time. I connect by trying to spend individual time with them even if it’s grabbing just one of them to run errands with me and letting them pick out a special treat.

  81. I love dinner together. And dessert together. I think it’s the way to just talk out the whole day together. Also, when I pick up after school. I love to hear the stories of the day.

  82. Jennifer says:

    Bedtime routine is my favorite with my sweet little son. Cuddling, prayers, and a few songs before bed; very special.

  83. Bedtime stories are my way of connecting with my child. It’s the “calm” part of our day and afterwards we talk until the little guy falls asleep.

  84. Amber Smith says:

    We love to read together. We make little I spy games out of items on the pages and use our imaginations to add to the story once it’s over. Great fun!
    asmithonline at yahoo dot ca

  85. Oh! I love this story. My mom used to put notes in my lunch box when I was in school. I still have the last 1 she wrote me (on the last day of 12th grade). It’s a super sweet memory for me!
    My son is in 4th grade and I home school so there are no notes sent in lunches, but there is nothing he loves more than for his Daddy and I to share stories from our past. He loves to know what things were like when we were young, and it’s always a great opportunity to share with him about the people who are important to us but who have gone on before him. I think I’ll go tell him a story now…

  86. Now that my son is off to college and we don’t see each other everyday, whenever I am out on the web and I find a really cool or unique story (usually related to his passion of environmental studies), I send him a link with my xoxo’s so that he knows I am always thinking of him.

  87. On these hot Southern summer days we wait until late in the day to lay on an old quilt in the backyard and read books. My boys (4 & 1) love this time together so much that we’ve created quite a dead grass spot!!

  88. I am getting ready to send my only child off to college next week and can honestly say I have used the lunchbox note as well as a few other tricks to stay connected. Years ago, I heard a wise speaker say that kids often share their deepest feelings when they are not face to face with you. (In the car, when you are both facing front, in the dark at bedtime, etc.) So I have sought out those moments to engage my son in conversation and have hit the jackpot time and time again. Nothing like a timely piece of wisdom! :) Try it – I think it works.

  89. My daughter goes to the same school I teach in so it is a pleasure to ride to and from school together and to have a few pre-class minutes to start the day off on a positive note. I also get to see her running around campus and get a quick hug in at random times of the day. I am a lucky mama!

  90. My favorite way to connect with the kids in my life is bedtime talks. I try to lay in bed with each of them (ages 8, 12, and 15) at least every couple of days. They seem to open up and connect best during this time. I don’t even have to ask any questions.

  91. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    I have been a fan of the lunch-box note for so many years and this being Senior year for us will be my last time to connect with her in this way! You better believe I will be taking advantage of the lunchbox notes this year. Last year I had certain food items say things to my picky eater – such as a note on the carrots that said “If you eat me your eyesight will improve and you might not have to wear glasses like Mom!” She loved that so much so I would have her PB&J (made with Smucker’s, of course!) say things like “I know I’m your favorite – eat me first!” and for a 17 year old to show the notes to her lunch table it was a big deal to this mom! Thanks.

  92. I live an ocean away from my nieces and nephews, so the best way I’ve come up with to connect with them is through Skyping them. We can see each other on video and chat about our lives. Also, I love cuddling my baby girl when she’s nursing–it’s our bonding time.

  93. I love to take the kids in my life each out for an individual, 1 on 1 ice cream date or to do something fun in the community. I like to surprise them so they won’t know when it is, and they always get really excited to go do something special with just the two of us. We take turns so everyone gets a turn, but it provides some special one on one time. Thanks, Boo Mama!

  94. my favorite way is through board games

  95. Jabber Jaws says:

    This year I gave my 13 year old daughter a diary for two – we write back and forth to each other and it has really deepened our relationship. I think it is often challenging to get kids to talk about their day as they grow (littles tell you every detail – mercy) so we play a game and everyone has to answer the following:
    Best of the day, worst of the day (can be traded for two bests but can never trade for two worsts – working on being positive people) and what did you eat for lunch and with whom (always eye opening even when I packed the lunch – trading is fierce).

  96. I love to write notes too, I need to start that again, they really enjoyed them.

    My favorite thing to connect with my children is to sit down with them and play a game. While they are playing, they enjoy talking more about themselves and what is going on in their day.

  97. To connect with my son, 13 ..I send him random text messages just to say “I love you”, or “have a good day” just to let him know I am thinking about him… I used to always put notes in his lunches until he got into jr high and stopped carrying a lunch :(

  98. I had one special weird way of connecting with my precious Daughter, Meg, now 25! From the time she could walk, in warm weather, I bought the super-cheap bags of 100 balloons and would announce that we were going into the back yard for water balloons. I knew I had her attention and she was completely with me until the last balloon was thrown or exploded in my hands. She never declined my commands to “come out and have water balloons” (trained her early I guess) and we have gone thru every stage of her life talking over these water balloons.

    Now I see her doing the same thing with her precious Daughter, Libby, and I am amazed that something so small and so inexpensive has connected us in a deep and meaningful way.

    Divinely inspired, NO DOUBT.

  99. I like to take the kids on a “picnic” for lunch. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate…just put their regular lunch in baggies or tupperware and take it to the park. When they were little I would push them on the swings and watch while they went down the slide, and then we’d sit down to eat the lunch together out in the fresh air and feed our crusts to the ducks. They’ve always loved it and so did I.

  100. We enjoy playing games with our kids, even though they are teenagers. Cards, banagrams, dominos, etc.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!