With the busyness and demands of life, sometimes we feel disconnected from our child(ren), but aren’t sure how to re-connect. Today our Child & Family Therapist, Brook Howell, shares tips on how to connect with your child.
Your presence is the greatest present you can give your child.
Make a point to check-in with each of your children individually at least once a day. A check-in doesn’t need to last more than a few minutes. Be fully present for each child – giving them attention and affection.
Sit down on the floor, couch, gaming chair, etc. and play with your child – even if they have not asked you to. This action lets them know that they are important.
Schedule weekly dates or special times with each of your children. These can be anywhere from 15 minutes per parent to an all day outing. Do your best to schedule this time when other events will not occur. If something comes up, let your child know as soon as possible so you can reschedule rather than cancel. These special times are for activities of your child’s choosing and should be lead by your child. A few suggestions for dates or special times include: play catch, bake cookies, play a board or card game, put together a puzzle, choose a kit and build a model, visit the skate park and practice your skills, go out for icecream, shop at a craft store for the materials for a project to create together.
Eye contact is a great way to show the person speaking that you are listening.
Many times our children want to talk with us at times that are not the most convenient. Even if you are preparing dinner, folding laundry or waiting in the car, you can shift your body towards them which encourages them to talk. Ask open-ended questions in response to what they have shared. Respond to their answers so they know you were listening.
Sprinkle humor or playfulness into your daily routine.
Whether it is sharing a daily joke – one someone else wrote or you or your child made up – making funny faces to giggle about, or giving one another a ‘tickle torture’, turning up the music and dancing in the kitchen together, find ways to connect in a playful way with your child each day.
Learn and Utilize Your Child’s Love Lanaguage
This post would not be complete without mentioning the topic I share with almost all of the parents I work alongside -love languages. Some of you may have heard of this topic and even learned your own personal love language while others may have never heard of the topic. Learning your child’s love language allows you to relate to them in a way that makes them feel loved.
There are five love languages and individuals may have one predominant love language, or like me, may equally feel three of the five. The five love languages are acts of service (someone doing something for you), gifts, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation (encouraging words).
You can purchase The Five Love Languages of Children at your local or online bookseller, check it out at the St. Charles City County Library or visit the author’s website to take a online quiz to determine your child’s love language.
Active listening, being present with your child, humor and playfulness, as well as utilizing your child’s love language are all ways that you can connect with your child. Do you have other suggestions you’d like to add? Have you tried any of these ideas? I’d love to hear the ways that you’ve connected with your child!