Building and maintaining strong relationships with children is essential in today’s society. Being able to connect with them in a world with so many barriers to meaningful communication can make it difficult. While there is no formula for establishing a strong parent-child relationship, if you build your connection through warm, loving, and responsive interactions your child will ultimately feel loved and secure.
Most important in developing this relationship is being in the moment. To really be in the moment you must tune in and think about what is going on with your child. Here are some ideas for being in the moment with your child:
-Show acceptance and let your child be herself without giving directions all the time.
-Notice what your child is doing and encourage it without judgment.
-Listen to your child and try to tune into her feelings. The story your child may tell you might be a long story with details that seem insignificant. Oftentimes areas of potential conflict are woven into these stories.
-Stop and think about what your child’s behavior is telling you. If your daughter is hanging around in the kitchen but not talking much, she just might need to be close to you. Make her feel supported without forcing her to talk.
Repeating and/or rephrasing your daughter’s words, smiling and making eye contact, taking her hand, and holding it when she struggles to communicate verbally tells your child that you are paying attention when you are talking or spending time together. Quality time can happen anytime and anywhere. These opportunities give you the chance to build a stronger connection with your child.