Staying connected in a disconnected world
Gary Chapman had it right when he said there are basically five love languages, categorised as ‘Words of Affirmation’, ‘Receiving of Gifts’, ‘Acts of Service’, ‘Physical Touch’ and ‘Quality Time’. Although we sometimes lean more towards one than the other, I think we all possess all five needs to varying degrees when it comes to filling ones “love cup” and feeling connected to our loved ones.
If you have been following our blog, I’m sure you know what my primary love language is by now: ‘Quality Time’, of course! I am the biggest advocate thereof - spend “time-in” with kids, your spouse or friends, make sure you are IN the moment and share experiences…
Life, however, takes us on different journeys and with that we learn that despite our wonderful ideal-world plans, people differ, what we value varies and life can throw some curveballs that we need to weather in order to lead a fulfilling life. So, today I’ll share a quick story on these curveballs and how people stay connected through it all.
Through my daughter’s school, I met a fellow mom and; we became friends sharing stories, as people do. One of these stories was that her husband routinely works away from home for weeks at a time. My heart sank… Away for weeks!? Being a quality-time-sponge my natural first reaction was “Wow! How do you manage it?” She calmly replied that they have had to develop some coping mechanisms and with these, they ensure that they make the best of the time spent together (and apart).
When Build A Bear asked us to tell readers more about their experience, this story of my friend immediately came to mind. One of the coping mechanisms my friend and her husband put in place for their kids was to build their own furry friend and to implant this special friend with a unique sound box message from dad. It is a wonderfully sentimental service that Build-A-Bear Workshops offer in various stores across the world.
Having gone through the Build-A-Bear Workshops myself for the first time this year, I noticed the special bond my kids have with their self-made soft toys. They gave the bear “life”, a name and a heart. Now, I can imagine the extra connection my friends’ children have through their personalised gift - an individual night-time message that each of them could listen to as they went to bed and a self-made soft toy to cuddle with.
Tips on Coping with Long Distance Relationships:
• Stay in a routine for daily activities as kids find comfort in routine - whether one of the parents is there or not,
• Find something that the kids can use to comfort them on their own terms (like the Build-A-Bear with a sound box) as and when they need it
• Ensure you have regular, good communication between family members whenever you can
Alexa (who blogs with me) told me she read a study where they advised that recordings of a mother singing may assist in soothing babies who have trouble falling asleep. I did some research and found a study published in the journal Pediatrics Feb. 17, where researchers used a pacifier-activated music player with a recording of their mother’s singing to improve the sucking ability and promote better oral feeding of preterm babies. Further to this, a hospital in Atlanta has started a programme called Little Lullabies, where they record mothers’ voices to help soothe babies in NICU. So, it appears through personal experiences and science, these recordings have far-reaching benefits.
It seems to me that a Build-A-Bear soft toy experience is more than a gift that keeps on giving, it is a companion, a shared experience through quality time together that can be enhanced even more through added affirming sound box messages from your loved ones.
Do you or your friend have a Build A Bear with a sound-box? How did you use it? Below is a video from one of the Toy Kingdom “Agents of Fun” who used it as a Mother’s Day gift. I can imagine families could also use it for a pregnancy announcement or a keepsake from granny to children.
Build-A-Bear has stores in Cape Town, Somerset West, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal.