This topic is so near and dear to my heart. As a mama, my relationship with my kids is one of the most important in my life right now. Before I know it they will be grown up and off on their own. So I need to take advantage of the time I have today! NOW is the time to create a strong, loving and positive relationship – hopefully one that will sustain us for the rest of our lives. Plus it’s fun! Who doesn’t need a little extra joy in their lives – and kids can definitely provide that.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Study after study shows that kids with strong family ties and good parental relationships are better students, healthier, happier and make better life choices. Reason enough for me!
How you build this relationship will change through the years – when they are little and spend most of their time with you it’s easy – the kids want nothing more than to be with you and bask in your attention. It gets tougher as they get older, develop outside friendships and start creating their own lives. However there are some easy things you can do at ANY age to improve and deepen the bonds between you and your child:
- One on one time. If done well, this is pure gold for relationship building. The most important ingredient is to put away that phone or other distractions and really concentrate on your child. Let them know this is special time that you want to spend with just THEM. I try to have breakfast before school or a hot chocolate “date” after school at least once a week with each child, and then once a month we try to do something fun – could be bowling, hitting the bookstore or even just board games at home.
- Nightly tuck-in. This is a no-brainer for little kids – read a few stories, kiss them goodnight – perfect daily habit. Suprisingly it’s also an amazingly effective relationship builder for my tween daughter. She certainly doesn’t need to be tucked in at night, but if I go into her room after she gets into bed and sit down with her for a few minutes I learn all kinds of things about her life at school, friends, etc. These are the conversations she doesn’t get to have with her little brother in the car or at a family dinner. So just because your kids aren’t toddlers, don’t give up that nightly tuck-in. It’s well worth the hassle of getting yourself off the couch or taking a break from cleaning the kitchen.
- Participate in their interests. Do I love to play soccer? Nope. Am I any good at it? Definitely not. Yet I make sure to kick the ball around and practice footwork with my son most nights after dinner. Ditto for putting and chipping the golf ball in the backyard. My reason why? My son love, love, loves those activities. Your child will soak up the attention you give them while spending time with them doing what they love – and it will give you plenty of conversation topics. My daughter is an avid reader, so for her I make sure and read a few of the books she is reading – we have had some really good conversations and she appreciates my interest.
What do YOU do to build strong relationships with your kids? How important is this to you? I’d love to hear your comments below – we always learn more from each other!
The month is almost over and I still have room in my schedule for TWO free Clarity Sessions – after a short 30 minute conversation, you’ll have a concrete list of your three top goals/ values for the year! Don’t delay, sign up now while they are still available!