By Donna Erickson Signal Contributing Writer Let’s face it. As parents, no matter our ages, amid all the busyness and to-dos of family life, there is one unshakeable truth: Kids are our priority, our most important responsibility and our greatest joy. They are what we care about most. And it’s the little things that parents do that really count: a hug on the way to school, a vote of confidence before a big test, an “I’m so happy to see you” when they walk in the door. These gestures help build a home on rock-solid ground. No matter what the day is like, you and your children can find time to enjoy yourselves while building a stronger relationship. Look for opportunities to connect. It can be in the car while driving to fall games or when you’re simply tossing the salad for dinner. Maybe it’s in the morning when you’re scurrying around, you might say, “Honey, let’s make breakfast,” while extending the marmalade jar, a little spoon and a piece of toast. Move through your day with an eye toward sharing the everyday moments. Eavesdropping over my backyard fence, I observed just that. Scott, a dad of two, was engaged with daughter Sylvia, staining the wood of an old backyard playset to protect it for the coming snowy winter. Instead of doing it himself, he shared the job with her. Among her many questions, Sylvia asked why the bees flying by might sting her. He gently calmed her fears and then talked about the wonderful things bees do for our environment. Shoulder to shoulder, leaning over the top deck of the playset, dad and daughter connected with each brushstroke and dip in the paint can. Are you planning a yummy apple dessert recipe you’re inspired to prepare this weekend, sorting through closets to downsize or pondering a new way to carve a pumpkin? Include your kids, and think about the shared activities as ways to set the stage for building communication and for providing a great arena for your kids to experience success, feel their own strengths as participants and sharpen all kinds of skills. Yes, your kids will remember the big summer trips, but it’s also the small day-to-day moments of family life this fall and winter that create a sense of being loved and belonging. That’s what counts! *** Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” (c) 2018 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.