As parents, it’s no secret that we want what is best for our children. One surefire way to accomplish this is by connecting and bonding with our sons and daughters. This connection, often referenced in the popular development Attachment Theory, plays a vital role in a child’s ability to form secure relationships which can greatly impact their ability to function and grow as healthy individuals. Unbeknownst to many of us, we began the process of bonding with our kids right after our bundles of joy were brought into this world and our doctor immediately placed them on our chests with skin-to-skin contact.
Over time, this connection grows. We are our child’s first teachers about many things, but we definitely have the ability to show them the way to create lasting friendships. Thankfully, we can forge this bond with our kids past infancy, into childhood and even past adulthood. One way we can achieve teaching our kids how to form emotional and physical attachments is to find creative ways to connect with our sons and daughters over the years.
Creative Ways to Connect with Your Child
Listed below are 12 suggestions to help make connecting with our children as they grow a reality:
Give hugs daily. Aim to foster the parent-child bond by giving multiple hugs a day. When children are younger this isn’t such a big deal, but as our sons and daughters enter adolescent territory this becomes increasingly difficult.
Hit a concert. Make it a tradition to attend a concert together. Let the kids choose the venue or band, but tag along. These experiences will be memorable and offer you a special shared memory, even if you don’t splurge to buy the concert t-shirt.
Unplug. Put down all digital devices to give our eyes a much needed break and step outdoors to enjoy green space together. Go camping, take a walk, or play at the park. Just remember to leave the electronics at home and get outside.
Develop a secret handshake or code. If public displays of affection aren’t your child’s cup of tea, take a few minutes and create a secret gesture that only you two understand. Get creative!
Try new foods. Many of us get tired of Meatloaf Mondays. Branch out your menu by trying new restaurants and cuisines. Besides expanding your palate, you will be offering unique opportunities to connect with conversation over a bowl of curry or rice noodles.
Roll up your sleeves. Doing chores doesn’t seem to be the first choice for bonding with kids, but working together provides some great opportunities to connect. Working alongside your child allows you to begin conversations and share ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. This is especially beneficial for boys, because they tend to share more when their hands are busy.
Log on. As parents, social media and video games might be problem hot zones. However, these technologies offer countless ways to connect with our sons and daughters. We can text, message, or snap each other during the day. Digital devices provide us a chance for more authentic communication, so we can take advantage of the camaraderie and interest that accompanies game play. Our kids are very comfortable using digital means to communicate, so, when in Rome…
Start a new hobby. Nothing helps people connect more than shared experiences. Take up woodworking, painting classes together, taekwondo, or cycling. Get creative and have fun, the main thing is to do something new together.
Make a date! It’s no secret that our lives are busy and adding additional commitments can be complicated. However, scheduling a set amount of time to spend with our kids doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Make spending one-on-one time with your child a priority. You can take him or her out for a night on the town or stay in for a game night.
Hit the road. Take advantage of time spent driving or exploring new regions together. A change of scenery can provide the best opportunities to connect, even if you are only visiting the state park 20 minutes from home.
Pamper yourself! Make it a spa day and enjoy an afternoon of manicures, pedis, brushing each other’s hair, and don’t forget massages. Relaxing together may just be what you need to connect.
Flip a coin. Set aside a day without plans and toss a coin to decide your directions, eating options, and entertainment choices. A day with no plans might seem chaotic, but it provides unlimited opportunities to bond. Afterall, it’s up to us to make heads or tails of our experiences.
What activities or suggestions do you have to share for connecting with your child?