SIMPLE WAYS TO BOND WITH YOUR CHILD
Building a strong connection with your children is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Not only will it ensure that you are close enough that they will feel comfortable enough to share anything with you, but it is also a vital part of their growth and development. Of course, it’s also a lot of fun too. With that in mind, here is a list I’ve put together of some of the most simple activities you can use to bond with your kids right now.
Chances are you already read your kids a bedtime story, but if not, it’s definitely time to change that because these precious minutes spend tucked up in bed, cuddling and sharing a great story are ideal for child development. Reading together has been shown to stimulate the parents of a child’s brain that control bonding and connection, so there really is nothing better. Our son loves it, and we’ve found it’s improved his vocabulary and reading skills immensely.
If your kids are older, they may not want you to read a storybook to them each night, but you could still make a point of reading together; choosing a book you both love and taking turns to read a passage out loud.
Camping is a great bonding exercise for parents and children of all ages. It takes you out of your natural environment and away from distractions like work, school, and electronic devices and enables you to just be together as a family. You’ll have more time to just talk, relax, and learn about each other. Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between a dome tent or a yurt or you don’t know your deep cycle batteries and solar batteries for your RV, because making mistakes and working together to work out what the heck you’re doing out there in the wilderness is all part of the bonding experience, and you’ll look upon it as one of the best times of your life when your kids are all grown up. With us now in the middle of spring, going into summer it’s the perfect time to set up camp and fish as a family.
MAKE SOME ART
When my son and I set up the table outside with paint and paper to get creative, I have noticed that he loves it. We get to bond and have fun. Art allows us to express ourselves. So, if you’re wondering what your kids are thinking but they haven’t been able to open up to you for whatever reason, getting out the paints of crayons is a great way to start opening them up. It is, of course, also a lot of fun, and you might just find you have a budding young Picasso or Frieda Kahlo on your hands which would be pretty awesome, right?
Music is a great thing to share with your kids, whether playing your favourite tracks or learning how to play an instrument. It enables you both to share the things you love and learn more about each other’s preferences. It also helps your kids to bring more awareness to their bodies, and the way they move – especially if you turn your music session into a dance party – which can help them to be more mindful, which is great for mental health.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Spending time outdoors, whether in your yard, the local park, or a beautiful National Park is a great way to squeeze in some quality time with your kids. Time spent in nature has been proven to lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure, release bodily tension, and stir creativity, which means it will certainly do you and your kids a lot of good. Not only that, but it’s another activity that gives you time to contemplate life and spend quality time walking, talking, and getting to know more about each other, which is the key to building strong bonds.
Roleplaying is something young children love to do. Whether they’re pretending to be Peppa Pig, a prince, or a doctor, they get a whole lot out of being someone or something else for a little while. It helps them to learn vital skills such as empathy and can even inspire them in future career choices.
Joining in with your kids as they take on a new life for a little while is a great way to, not only help them develop as individuals but also to show them that you are an ally who will always be there to support them, and who isn’t averse to having a little fun. Studies have shown that kids who play more with their parents are less likely to enact attention-seeking behaviour, develop anxiety disorders or suffer from excessive negative emotions, so get over your embarrassment and be a My Little Pony for the day.
Physical touch is one of the most human ways to show love and affection. It is a very simple way of forming lasting bonds with your children. Of course, you need to respect their bodily autonomy too, so don’t force it, but if they look like they could use a hug, give them one and never stop hugging them no matter how grown-up and eye-rolling averse to it they seem to be because touch matters.
LISTEN TO THEM
This may be last on the list, but it is by no means least. If you want your kids to respect you; to understand that you are always there for them; that you care deeply about them, you need to make time to listen to them. I mean, listen actively. Let them say whatever they need to say without judgment, take it all in and show them that you’re interested in what they are telling you. They’ll feel loved and respected, and because they know you’ll really listen to what they say without judgment, they’ll know that they can always come to you with any worries or feathers they may have and they will be taken seriously.
Bonding with your kids doesn’t always come easily; sure you have the unbreakable bonds of family, but they aren’t always enough o see you through, but you can improve on your situation by becoming proactive, making time for them, and trying any of the simple activities above.
The more you do together, the stronger you’ll be as a family.