Connecting with Your Child
Benefits that will last a lifetime
Today's fast-paced, pressured-filled culture can often leave little time to nurture the relationship between you and your child. Here are a few suggestions to strengthen that unique bond:
- Connecting with your child can be as easy as participating with them in activities they enjoy. You don’t have to learn to skateboard, but you could help build the ramp and video them, or help with soccer drills in the backyard. Conversation comes naturally when you are having fun together.
- Share screen-time. While we should help our kids manage their screen time in a healthy way, we can also sometimes join them to learn more about their interests. Watch an episode of their favorite show with them or watch them play a video game. Even though you might not have a conversation, you will still bond and you’ll get to know your child more.
- Make it a priority to spend one-on-one time together doing things they enjoy. Agree that you’ll turn your phone off and have them do the same.
- Have yogurt/ice cream/coffee with your child once a week. Hang out without an agenda. This conveys that you enjoy spending time with them.
- What or how much you say is not as important as sometimes just listening. This allows you to build a relationship in which your child feels safe and you earn the right be heard.
- Have family dinners as often as possible. This is a great opportunity to listen, engage as a family, hear about one another’s day, talk about current events, and ask your child their opinions. They love it when you value their input.
- If you are a working parent, let your kids know that even though work may have a lot of demands on you, THEY are still your number one priority.
- Praise and give affirmations more often than you criticize. For every criticism, you should have 10 affirmations. If you need to correct them, focus on the behavior instead of a character trait. ("It really helps me out when you remember to load your dishes," rather than, "You are so lazy; you never load your dishes!")
- Just because your kids are growing up doesn't mean they don't want to be tucked into bed. Great conversations can happen in the quiet of nightwhen your child has had a chance to wind down and process their day.
- Don't underestimate the influence you have on your kids and how much they value your opinion. Embrace opportunities for meaningful connections.