These days, many children don’t go to their parents for direction and guidance; instead, they go to their peers for advice. That is becoming the norm in many cultures today. Some of the reasons for this is because parents and children don’t communicate or spend meaningful time together.
As a result of this, parents may lose their influence over their children. No wonder children spend so much time with their peers. It is as if they were being raised by each other instead of by their parents. The sooner you form a close bond or connection with your child, the better off your household will be.
Also, children who have a healthy connection with their parents are more likely to develop positive relationships with other people around them. It also promotes their cognitive and emotional development. In addition to that, they will learn the essential skills and values needed for future success. Here are some ways to keep your connection with your child strong.
1. Have some fun together.
Peers can provide friendship for your teen, but they should never replace your role as a parent. One way to do that is through laughter and playing together. It keeps you connected with your child by stimulating endorphins and oxytocin in both of you. Why not make laughter a daily habit with your child. Doing that will also give your child a chance to let go of the anxieties and upsets that otherwise make him feel detached.
2. Discern what they like and learn how to do it.
Is your child a fan of basketball? or does he or she like swimming? Singing? Drawing? Every kid is most likely to be passionate about something, so when you know what your kid likes, take your time to learn how to do it and then join them in participating in these activities.
My daughter, for example, enjoys drawing. She loves art so much, so from time to time, we visit different art galleries together. Sometimes we go to a children’s workshop, where kids can make their own drawings and take them home. This makes her very happy, and she’s always looking forward to the next trip. Apart from doing it together, she is also delighted that I’m interested in what gives her joy. It gives her a chance to use some energy and stay healthy!
3. Provide them with wise guidance.
Your children can benefit greatly by spending time with you, even as they grow older. One way to provide your children with wise guidance, for example, is about the use of technology and the internet. Children may be quick learners, especially when it comes to technology and the internet. The problem is, children tend to be naive because of a lack of wisdom and experience.
There are wolves in sheep clothing out there (people masking their true identity) looking for unsuspecting teens. It will be best to show them the dangers associated with the use of technology and help them to avoid these dangers. Also, establish some rules with your children and be consistent about enforcing them.
4. Give your undivided attention to your child
When your child talks to you, always make eye contact with him and listen attentively to what is being said. Many families find it difficult to have enough time for meaningful communication, especially with their children. One reason is that these days, everybody checks their devices now and then or multitasking and only gives partial attention.
Communication competes with and often loses out to televisions, computers, and other electronic media. Parents sometimes answer their kids’ complaints absent-mindedly. If you can give at least 15 minutes of undivided attention to your child, it will go a long way in strengthening your connection.
Listen and be flexible. When replying, always be reasonable. Rigidly adhering to rules will tempt your child into looking for loopholes.
5. Recommend their effort.
When you praise your child’s positive behavior, you encourage him to do more. Your child might then take on new challenges more confidently. If you regularly give appropriate praise, your child will welcome feedback on how he can further improve.
When your child does something nice, like taking the dishes to the kitchen, cleaning their room, or going to bed on time, praise them for their effort. The next day, they will be more obliged to do the same. They wouldn’t want to disappoint you even when you’re not there. It also makes them more connected to you.
6. Hug and pat your child.
Many scientific studies have proven that hugging, touching, and sitting close together can increase trust, minimize violence, boost the immune system, and improve overall well-being (2).
In some cultures, it may not be easy. But doing this may go a long way to help you connect with your child. It will be worth it. Why not give it a try and see how it goes. Let your children know they are loved.
7. Work alongside your kids
Young children are eager to work alongside their parents. Why not take advantage of this natural inclination by assigning them chores around the home. Assigning a few simple household chores will also help your children learn how to follow directions.
This is also definitely an excellent way to spend time with your children and get to know more about them. Here are some things you can do together at home.
- Paint together.
- Wash the dishes together.
- Involve your children in meal preparation.
- Clean up the kitchen together.
- Engage in outdoor activities.
- Set the table with your children.
Exploring your community together
This is another fine opportunity to build a strong connection with your child. Take your children out for trips around the community. Plan together ahead of time. Name the things and people you will look for, for example, flowers, buildings, animals, or firefighters in the place you are visiting (3). Use the opportunity to teach your children. Below are some places you can go to.
- The park.
- Fire station.
- Community events.
- Bus or train stations.
Do not be discouraged if your child’s connection with you is not strong as you would want it to be. Keep working at it. It will only get better with time as long as you are making an effort.