It is but natural for our children see us as this authority figure who sets rules and limits, corrects their behaviour, pushes them to do their homework and denying their more whimsical and unreasonable requests. All that should be enough for our children to perceive our presence in their lives as negative, which is sometimes the case in some parent-child relationships.
However, many kids don’t feel that way about their parents, because their parents do more than just order them around. They actually create a positive balance between by initiating positive interactions as well. Do all loving and affirming interactions with them, and you will be able to connect more deeply with your children. Here are 10 quick ideas to do just that.
1. Snuggle with them in the morning
Do this for at least five minutes every time they wake up in the morning. You can even do it for a longer time if you can spare it. Sure, they’ll be outgrowing this eventually and probably would squeeze out of your embrace one day, but they will always have memories of you holding them in your arms every single day, and that’s a connection that’s as deep as it gets.
2. Be playful with them
Singing songs in the car on your way to school is just some of the many playful things you can do with your child on a daily basis. It could something as whimsical as holding hands and skipping together on the way to the car. You can even race them to the car if you want to. Pillow fights before bath time would also be nice. Anything that will leave an indelible mark in their minds that for all your authority as a parent, you’re someone they can actually have fun with.
3. Slip a love note into his/her lunchbox
If your own parents did this to you as a child, then you know the lovely feeling of finding such a note inside your lunch box. The notes like that remind your kids how much you love them, and your kids will know it to be true.
4. Read them bedtime stories
Fostering parent-child bonds has traditionally been the biggest benefit of reading bedtime stories to your child, but recent studies have found that doing so also boosts your child’s brain development. More than that, you have to enjoy every aspect of reading the bedtime story, from savouring the smell of your child’s hair as he/she snoozes off or tucking him/her in.
5. Communicate with your child regularly
Few things in a parent-child relationship are as great as solidifying it than regular conversations. Talk to them at breakfast and ask what they’re looking forward to doing today. At the end of the day, devote all your attention to him/her talking about stuff that happened in school. If they tell jokes or do something funny, laugh with them. At dinner, ask your child an interesting question and give him/her the time to answer while everyone at the table listens. If they have troubles at school or they want to say something about crushes or anything, listen compassionately.
6. Tell your child to have fun
Are you one of those parents who tell their kids to “be good” as they send them off to school? If yes, we recommend changing that to “have fun!”. The other send-off sounds like the child is naturally going to do something that isn’t too good at school, and you’re just reminding them not to do anything of the sort. “Have fun”, on the other hand, is full of positive connotations for your child.
7. Be impartial when they have a fight
It’s but natural for siblings to fight, but if you ever see any of your kids engage in one, sit them down, listen to both kids without taking sides, keep your sense of humour, and help them come up with a solution that everyone will be happy about.
8. Hug your children whenever you can
Hug them whenever you can, simply because there is no better way to get your love across to them. It’s a form of body language that can be understood across all countries and all cultures. You don’t even have to say anything. Just hug your children every chance you get, and let your love flow from you to them.
9. Keep calm even when you get frustrated with them
All parents have gone through feeling frustrated when their kids don’t want to stop playing and get ready for bed. All too often, many parents have to bark at them to get them to bed, and that isn’t any way to connect more deeply with your children. During time like these, you have to keep calm and your sense of humour intact. Maybe you can make going to bed some sort of a game, as you scoop them up in your arms and carry them to bed. When you get the child to bed, reconnect with your child and use that warm connection to tuck him/her in.
10. Allocate special time for your child
It doesn’t really matter what you do together. What matters is that you do stuff together, whatever that might be. For this, you should set aside time on a regular basis. For very busy parents, perhaps fifteen minutes of their time will do. In that time, everything else must be dropped, and your attention should be solely focused on your child.
Creating habits like the ones enumerated above may be time consuming, but if they are going to help you connect more deeply with your children, would that time even matter? Of course it shouldn’t, not when you want to have a deeper connection with your kids. That, in the end, is all that matters.