Grammy Tammy's top 5 tips on bonding with your child
A strong parent-child relationship is based on trust. Parents should make an effort to get to know their child and form a connection with them. Unfortunately, work, school and countless other commitments make it difficult for moms and dads to set aside quality bonding time.
Here are five tips to help you maintain a healthy parent-child bond:
- Spend quality time together. There’s a mural painted on the wall of one of our learning centers that reads, “Children spell love T-I-M-E.” This is because children crave time with parents and value it above all else. Spending quality time with your child deepens your relationship and makes your child feel valued. Every moment counts, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Be sure to set aside time each day for just the two of you, even if it’s only 30 minutes. Playing games, sharing meals, and reading books are all great ways to spend time together. Establishing consistency is also important. Just as you wouldn’t cancel an important meeting, don’t make excuses for not spending time with your child. Taking time out of your busy schedule to be with your kid sends the most important message: “I love you.”
- Be an active listener. Part of being a good parent is being a good listener. It’s difficult to listen when you’re distracted, so turn off your computer and put away your cell phone when you’re having a conversation. Make your child feel like your main priority when they are talking to you. Even small things like maintaining eye-to-eye contact when speaking can make a difference. For younger children that aren’t able to carry on full conversations yet, watch a movie or read a book together and ask open-ended questions. Find out what parts they liked and how it made them feel. The connection between you and your child will grow stronger if they feel they are truly being heard.
- Share common interests. Get to know your child’s interests and share your own with them. Sure, you might not be into the same movies or TV shows as your toddler or preschooler, but there’s bound to be a common interest between you both. Whether it’s painting, reading or sports, get involved in what your child likes to do and be enthusiastic about it. Try putting together a jigsaw puzzle, baking cookies, or listening to music together. A shared hobby will create opportunities for conversation and will create a bond that connects just the two of you.
- Engage in your child’s play. Every child needs the freedom to play on their own or with other kids their age, but research shows that playtime with parents is also important. Make the time to play with your child on a regular basis. Whether it’s dinosaurs, princesses, superheroes or tea parties, let them go into their own imaginary world and just go with it. Don’t be afraid to be silly and have some fun. This is also a great way to bring out the inner child in you that’s been hiding deep down!
- Use words of affirmation. Words are powerful, especially to young children that listen oh-so-carefully to each word that comes out of mommy or daddy’s mouth. Try to use words of endearment that give your child positive guidance. Praise is a fantastic reward, so be sure to use plenty of words of encouragement. On the other hand, hurtful words can damage your child’s self-esteem. So don’t forget to say “I love you,” “you are special,” and “you are valued.” You may even find that positive reinforcement works better than imposing harsh rules on your child.
There is nothing more fulfilling or challenging than raising a child, and nobody is ever fully prepared. Hopefully, these tips will help you on your way to maintaining a long-lasting parent-child relationship.
Be sure to check back each month for more Grammy Tammy’s Tips!
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