Maintaining a great relationship with your maturing child is a tricky balance. Struggling with the urges to smother them with love and instead be calm and “cool” can be difficult for parents. However, it is crucial to try. When a relationship is strong, it is also sweet. But how do you really stay connected to your child?
Having and maintaining this connection will also encourage a smoother running household. A child that feels connected to their parents WANTS to cooperate and follow the rules of the home.
We all flounder at times. There are days when you may not think to go that extra mile and instead stick to the basics, such as packing their lunch, kissing goodbye and asking how their day was. Here are 10 habits that can help strengthen your bond with your children. This blog post was inspired by Aha! Parenting which can be read HERE.
1. Aim for 12 physical connections a day (hugs, kisses, pats on the back etc.)
2. Bond through transitions – when your little one wakes up in the morning, have a little 5 minutes snuggle to help the transition from sleeping to waking up. When they arrive home from school, spend a few minutes of sweet time to unwind from the busy school day.
3. PLAY – laughter is one of the best ways to form a connection! Joke around, chase, dance, sing…”Making playfulness a daily habit also gives your child a chance to work through the anxieties and upsets that otherwise make him feel disconnected — and more likely to act out.”
4. No technology! – When you are creating a personal connection with your child, do not have the distractions of technology present. “Your child will remember for the rest of his life that he was important enough to his parents that they turned off phones and music to listen to him.”
5. Special time – Carve out 10-15 minutes a day with each one of your children individually, doing something they love to do. You will be amazed how much they will open up when the attention is on them, and ONLY them.
6. Invite emotion – Welcome the breakdowns, accept the tears and hear them when they cry. Remember, they are comfortable enough with you to release whatever emotions are streaming through them! So listen (and see #7).
7. Listen! – Fight the urge to comment on everything your child is saying. Let them freely talk and let their minds wander. Listen.
8. Slow down and savor the moment – “Share the moment with your child: let him smell the strawberrries before you put them in the smoothie. Put your hands in the running water together and share the cool rush of the water. Smell his hair. Listen to his laughter. Look him in the eyes. Connect in the magnificence of the present moment. Which is really the only way we can connect.”
9. Bedtime – A great way to end the day is with a snuggle and a chat. Recap his favorite moment of the day. Talk about the upcoming weekend. Get him excited for school tomorrow. The next day, make sure to follow up with your previous conversation. You will be amazed what can be learned in 5 minutes.
10. Be Present – “Your child only has about 900 weeks of childhood to live”, be there for them! When you are engaged with your child, live in the moment. Eliminate distractions. You won’t be able to do it all the time, but it is a habit to begin forming and will come with no effort before you know it 🙂