In today's fast-paced world, parents and children are busier than ever! It seems increasingly difficult these days to plan quality time with our families. However, the results of strengthening family relationships last for a lifetime. Research has shown that if a child has a strong bond with their caregiver(s), the child will exhibit higher levels of achievement, increased emotional regulation, and reduced chances of delinquency.
But, how can you fit this into your schedule? Here are some suggestions to improve parent-child bonding that work for busy families.
1) Create a schedule with your child/children that includes a designated time for family time or one-on-one time with each of your children. Discuss with child(ren) what activities they want to do or what they want to talk about during this one-on-one or family time.
2) Setting up a nightly routine that involves reading or telling silly stories to each other.
3) Putting down electronics and communicate. Repeating back what one has said with phrases like “I hear you...” is important in helping you and your child know that each other has been heard.
4) Ask each other what the other needs from the relationship. To improve mutual respect, it is important to hear and understand what your child needs from you and what you need from your child.
5) Set up family rules. It is very important for children to have rules but it is also important to have family rules that everyone including the adults have to follow. This allows children to understand that they have to respect the rules of the house but so do the adults in the house. Examples: No yelling from anyone, eye contact with the person you are speaking to, everyone has to say “I hear you” after someone has spoken, when going to sleep hug everyone in the household.
6) Be silly! The most important aspect of bonding is the ability to let your guard down. Don't be afraid to be silly with your child. Playing games, making silly faces or having a dance party are simple activities that will promote fun and silliness.
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