With the hustle and bustle of every day life, finding time to genuinely and deeply connect with your child can be tricky. But finding regular space for one-on-one time with your child will change your relationship with your child, no matter your child’s age. You will both begin to feel even more connected and in tune with each other. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your time:
· Put it on your schedule. I ask parents to aim for 30 minutes a week of uninterrupted one-on-one time with each child. It shouldn’t be a part of your regular routine (bedtime stories, meal times, etc.), it’s a bonus time of connection with you.
· Do something in your child’s world. It doesn’t have to be a big event, maybe just playing their favorite game or going to the park together. Kids don’t have the ability to connect in your world; you have to meet them in theirs.
· For teens, you might watch TikTok or YouTube videos together or play their favorite video game. Showing your interest in their interests lets them know you care. That may also give you some insight into things that are going on with them that they are not wanting to talk about.
· Your time together might not be task-driven or goal oriented; it should be playful and fun. Having your child run errands with you is not fun for them no matter how many toys at Target you buy them.
· No calls or texts during your connecting time. Turn phones to silent so they won’t be a distraction.
· Listen more than you talk. Let your child lead the way, teach you something new, explain things to you. This is not a time to teach or lecture or discipline.
· Allow your child to solve their own problems. Instead of saying “here’s how you do it”, say “I wonder how you’re going to solve that problem” or “I know that’s something you can figure out.”
Consider this time an investment in your relationship with your child. Too often, we are in the position to repair relationships. This is a proactive way to deepen your relationship with your child so when things get tough, you have a firmer foundation to stand on.