A very wise lady once told me: “It isn’t enough that we tell our children we love them. We need to put our love into action every day for them to feel it.” This small statement has changed the way I look at relationships. Not only parent-child relationships, but all relationships in general. For me, it is a very powerful thing. This also has a lot to do with bonding with your children.
Every parent wants the best for their children. They want them to learn, develop and be geniuses. And that is perfectly fine. But you also need to remember that children are flawed, fragile, wonderful little people. And sometimes they need a relationship with us that is more about nurturing and bonding than about checking something else off the to-do list. So try one of these 8 ways to bond with your child, to slow down and just be together—with no agenda.
1 Fishing – If you know of a quiet, safe fishing spot, pack a picnic basket and go fishing! Children generally loves the outdoors and will love the one-on-one time learning how to put bait onto a hook and how to throw the line into the water.
2. Read a good book together – Find a book that your child would love. If he/she likes fairy-tales, find a book with fairy-tales – the list here is endless as most kiddie’s book are fairy tales anyway. Finding a page-turner, you can read aloud to them in installments over several days or weeks creates a restful, intimate zone for the two of you to exist in. Stop and talk about what your child thinks about the story. Ask what he/she would do if faced with the same circumstances as the characters. Their answers will give you a glimpse into how they perceive the world.
3. Teach them something really fun – Life doesn’t have to be all long division and how to make your bed. Have some fun by teaching your kid something less serious, like how to grill the perfect burger, how to bake cupcakes, or how to build a boat together. Make it low pressure and full of laughs–even if it’s a disaster.
4. Take a long walk together – During the long days of summer, take advantage of the extra daylight by taking walks together after dinner. It doesn’t have to be a power walk or even really about fitness. Just make it a chance to explore the neighborhood together, talk about your day, and maybe give the dog a little exercise.
5. Have a standing monthly date with mom or dad – Each of your kids needs a little one-on-one time with you to connect. Make a regular date for dinner or ice cream with each of your children where it’s all about them—no talking about heavy stuff, either. Just fun.
6. Slumber Party – Every once in a while, let them come hang out in your room at bedtime. Pop some popcorn, snuggle up, and have movie time together. Better yet, just talk or play board games.
7. Out yourself as a former goofy kid – Your kids may have trouble thinking of you as anything but a mom or dad. Tell them a funny story about something funny you did when you were their age or about something embarrassing that happened to you (like that time you got a rip in the seat of your pants in gym class). Laughter shall ensue.
8. Road Trip – Some Saturday, surprise your child with a daylong road trip to somewhere fun or interesting. It doesn’t have to be Disneyland, either. A museum, a natural attraction, or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine exhibit—it’s not so much about the destination as the journey. Don’t forget to stop for lunch at a spot they love, and probably for ice cream, too!
You, more than anyone, know your kids the best. Use this advantage to plan ways to bond with your kids. Some kids like to do crafts – painting, drawing, colouring or even baking while others might not like crafts at all. They might prefer activities such as playing outside, kicking a ball or playing sports. Use the fact that you know your kids as an advantage when planning a bonding session. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip around the world, you can even start by just helping them build a puzzle or help them with that math equation they have been struggling with.
When it comes to bonding, a little really goes a long way!