15 Ways to Connect With Your Child

5
May
2014

15-Ways-Connect-Your-Child

We all want to make our kids feel like they are special to us.  It can be challenging with busy schedules, different personalities and seasons of life.  But when it all comes down to it, there are some simple things you can do, taking only a few minutes a day to help your child feel special, important and appreciated.

Here are 15 real tips to connecting with your child that take less time than you may think:

1. Listen to them when they talk.   Actively hear what they have to say when they are talking.  Stop what you are doing to tune in.  

2. Ask about their day at school.   When they get in the car, ask what they did, how they felt and what is going on in their life.  Instead of the “How was your day,” where you get the typical, “Fine,” answer, ask “Tell me about your day,”  instead.

3. Share a family meal.   Many families eat dinner together as a way of catching up on each other’s lives.  I find when I am parenting on my own, when my husband it out of town, it can seem ‘easier’ to skip this time and just eat while I am multi-tasking.  Oops, I do it too!  Prioritizing this time for conversation and connecting is important.

4. Make time for family time. Have a family game night or just a set aside time when you discuss current events and what is happening in the family.  I’ll just shared about Family Nights in last week, did you see it?

5. Look at them.  Maintain eye contact when you are talking to them.  This lets them know that nothing else is holding your attention but what they have to say.  You feel they are important.

6. Ask follow-up questions.   If they give you a one-word answer to your first question, ask another.

7. Show respect.  Speak to them with respect no matter what their age, this helps train them in having courteous conversations and setting up boundaries around the way to treat and speak with all people.  Knock before entering their room even if the rule is no locked doors.

8. Learn to read body language.  Your child may say they are fine but their mannerisms may suggest otherwise. Be aware of their normal behavior and be keen on knowing when things might be off a bit.

9. Tell them you love them.  You can never say it enough when you mean it – really – even when they are teenagers.  I admit, I was not very good at this and still find it hard to express heartfelt emotions with my older children.  {I am a work in progress!}

10. Encourage them to talk.   Children have opinions, too.  Ask them their opinion, allow them to disagree with you – truly take the time to listen to their side even if you only agree to disagree.

11. Be honest.  Kids can catch you in a lie and it will break trust with them.  Avoid hypocrisy.

12. Encourage emotions.  Accept their right to their emotions and let them express their emotions in a healthy way.  In their book, “How We Love Our Kids,” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich, I understood that how I was responding to my children when they needed to express themselves was not a positive response.  I was parenting as I was parented and I needed to change the pattern.

13. Encourage and share in their interests. Find ways to be involved and interested in the things that interest them.  This is challenging for sure…..but the end result will be something that will connect the two of you an build memories.  I don’t necessarily enjoy the type of music my teen listens to, but it won’t kill be to try to share in that interest by asking to listen with them once in awhile or go throw the baseball with them too. 

14.  Let them help cook dinner.  I knew you would like this one!  But really, have them help in the kitchen, having an activity that you can do side by side engages conversation and will also help with building life skills.  We all want our kids to be responsible when they leave home and that means learning some cooking skills!  

15.  Be Mushy!  Give hugs, kisses and high fives – depending on the age of your kids and what level of comfort they have.  Even when they give you a frown, know deep down that they really like it!

What are your tips to connecting with your kids?

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