As parents, our job of raising, teaching and guiding our child through the daily routines of life might bring about emotionally difficult or negative moments such as correcting behaviour, setting limits, or denying requests. It is important to keep a positive balance in the relationship by keeping up loving and reaffirming interactions that serve to nurture the child’s development.
Like any other relationship, the bond between parent and child can be strengthened through small daily habits. Here are eight ways you can do so.
#1 Eat together
Research shows that having regular meals with your kids increases the likelihood of positive developmental benefits, such as having better health, building strong mental, emotional and social skills, even improved academic performance. Pencil in family meals whenever possible – if your work schedule doesn’t allow you to have frequent dinners, opt for early breakfasts, surprise lunches or even tea-time dates.
#2 Talk about your day
Form the habit of catching up with your kids’ day. Much like building a friendship, sharing about the details of your day and vice versa will form a closeness that helps mutual understanding and lets your child know that you value her as a person. Start off by prompting them with questions like, “What did you enjoy most about your day today?” or “What made you laugh the most today?”
#3 Hug your children every day
Hugging it out is a great way to show your affection – the comforting physical touch of a parent can help children feel secure and safe. A few ways you can inculcate the habit of hugging include snuggling up to your little one first thing in the morning and before bedtime, greeting or saying goodbye with a hug, and whenever you feel like it in-between. Include little gestures such as affectionately ruffling their hair or patting their back.
Older tweens or teenagers might shy away, especially when in front of their peers. In such scenarios, avoid forcing them into it or getting upset when they rebuff you. Be subtle and help them understand that hugging to show affection and love is perfectly normal and not a bad thing.
#4 Be present (live in the moment)
Most of us may have slipped into the habit of blindly rushing about our daily schedules, just to get everything over and done with. From now on, pace yourself, be present and soak up every moment – especially ones spent with your children.
#5 Nix the electronics
Both parent and child may be guilty of being overly dependant on gadgets even while having family time. Set a good example by making sure that you’re able to fully focus on interacting with your family by putting away any distracting gadgets. This sends your child the message that you value them more than others, and helps them understand the importance of being fully present in every interaction.
#6 Have fun together
Being a parental figure doesn’t mean you have to be serious and strait-laced 24/7. As much as possible, let loose and have fun with your child! Sharing lighter moments will build great memories they’ll definitely remember when older.