7 Ways to Connect With Your Child
1. Be Fully Available
- When we take the time to give our children our full and undivided attention without the distraction of cell phones, television, our own problems etc…, children feel valued and connection is enhanced
- Listen with an open mind while keeping advice to a minimum
- Express a genuine interest in what our child is doing, thinking and feeling, sharing.
2. Show Warmth and Affection
- Smiles, affectionate tone of voice, eye contact, hugs, snuggles, “I love you’s”
- Greet them and express delight and joy when arriving home
- Nicknames, terms of endearments, little notes
3. Recognize and value your child as an individual
- Notice their changes and acknowledge their individuality, the way they think about things, their opinions and values — take an interest and express it.
4. Stay interested in their activities and daily life as they get older
- Pay attention to what they are doing, who they are spending time with
- Take the time to get to know their friends, attend special events and activities at school if possible
- Learn about their music, social media and game interests by asking about them, and even finding the time to join them in these activities sometimes
5. Continue to set clear limits
- Younger children and teens DO respond to and need limits, they feel safer when we hold to the limits we have set
- Keep in mind that limits and rules and routine do need to be re-negotiated as our kids get older
- Remember….as hard as it is sometimes, conflict is part of attachment!
6. Provide support during times of stress and difficulty
- Be open to hearing from them when they are in trouble and need our help
- Offer love, support and empathy, especially when there is nothing we can do to “solve” the problem
7. Model joy and positivity
- Encourage and compliment the journey and the effort, not just the desired end result of learning something new or a working towards a goal
- Let them know when you had a good time together
- Notice things about them– new hair style, different shirt, looking stressed (acknowledging both the positive and the difficult)
5:1 Rule —> 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative one
For more on connection, see Connection Matters .