Most parents want to be close with their kids, but it can be hard to find the time. Between work and running errands and everything else we have going on, where are we supposed to fit in quality time with our children? It’s not always easy, but there are moments throughout the day when we can connect a little bit more. In this blog post, I’d like to share some ideas and tips for making those connections happen.
How connection can help kids (and you)
There are all sorts of benefits to feeling connected with our kids. For one, it helps them feel supported and loved. It also gives them a sense of security and belonging. When kids feel connected to their parents, they’re more likely to open up and share what’s going on with them. They’re also more likely to cooperate and behave well. And on top of all that, it just feels good for both of you. Connection is a two-way street, after all.
Humans are wired for connection
It’s in our DNA. And when we feel connected to others, it feels good. That sense of connection is something we all crave, and it’s no different for our kids. They may not always show it, but they need us. They need that connection with us just as much as we need it with them. So how can we make it happen?
Small efforts add up
You don’t need to spend hours every day with your kids to feel connected to them. In fact, it’s the little things that often make the biggest difference. A few minutes here and there can go a long way. Try some of these easy ideas:
Connect with Kids At bedtime
Instead of just asking your child how their day was, ask them about their favorite part of the day. Or what they were most proud of. Or what made them laugh. These small conversations will give you a better sense of what’s going on in your child’s life and how they’re feeling. And it’ll let them know that you care. All of my kids have loved to have me lay in bed next to them and quietly rub their back while we chat about important or even silly things
School pickup/in the car
When your kids are stuck in the car with you, don’t just turn on the music and zone out! Ask about their friends or what they ate for lunch at school. This is a great time to talk about your day too. Your kids are stuck until you get home. Talk! Tell them about something that made you laugh, or something that was challenging. Ask them about their day and really listen to the answer. These ten or fifteen minutes in the car can be a special bonding time for both of you.
On walks/during exercise
If you have some time when you’re both walking the dog or going for a run, use that time to talk. Better yet, ask them to come with you so that you can spend some time with them. Ask your kids about what’s going on in their life. This is a great time to really listen and connect with them.
Connect with Kids While cooking/eating dinner
You need to eat. Why not take advantage of the time that it takes to cook and eat a meal. Use that time to connect with your child. Tell them silly things about your life. Ask them about their favorite foods. This is a great time to learn a little more about your child and forge a bond.
During younger siblings nap times
If you have a younger child who is napping, use that time to connect with your older child. Older kids know that sibling free time with parents is hard to come by. Use it to your advantage! You can read together or talk about their day. You could also play a game, or snuggle up and daydream about the thing that get you both excited!
Conversation starters and ideas
When you’re trying to connect with your child, it can be helpful to have some conversation starters in mind. If you need more ideas for conversation starters, read: Conversation Starters for Families
The time that you spend working with your kids can be a great opportunity to connect with them. Some of my greatest conversations have happened while weeding with my kids or folding laundry together. It’s a great way to talk and connect with your kids while getting things done!
Chores for kids
One great way I’ve found to help my kids be more receptive to talking is by offering to help them with a chore that they would normally have to do by themselves. They are usually really grateful for the help, but it also gives us a chance to talk and connect while we’re doing something together.
Read: Chores for Kids
Running errands together
Anytime I need to run an errand, I try to bring one of my kids with me. It’s a bit of one-on-one time that gets us out of the house and talking. We usually have some great conversations in the car or while we’re waiting in line.
Get the mail
I know it sounds simple. It’s just a few minutes at most. But, take one of your kids with you when you walk to get the mail. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and connect with your child.
Does your child love to craft? I honestly have never met a kid who doesn’t enjoy a craft project. Pull out a few fun things and create something together. If the creative gene doesn’t run in your family, grab a kit like one of these below. Crafting is perfect for connecting with your kids because you are sitting and working together on something, but it doesn’t consume your thoughts the way a movie might.
Playdough is one of the easiest ways to connect with your child. It’s perfect for all ages and it’s a great way to talk and have fun. If you need an easy playdough recipe, try this one:
Our kids LOVE family games. We usually play a game every night after dinner. It’s a great way to connect with your kids and have some fun together. Plus, it’s a great way to teach them some important life skills like how to lose gracefully!
Nothing repairs a bad day like snuggling in to read a book with one of your kids. It’s a great way to bond and connect with your child. Right now our family is loving the following books:
Are you prioritizing kids dates in your family? You should be! Kids dates are a great way to connect with your child and have some one-on-one time together. The trick to kids dates, I’ve found, is to schedule them! Otherwise they just don’t happen. A friend of mine makes it a priority to take her child on a date every month on the day of the month they were born. So if your child’s birthday is the 20th, you would aim to do a date on the 20th of every month. Easy to remember!
Get more kids date ideas:
I hope these ideas help you to connect with your child! I know how important it is and how hard it can be. Just remember that every little moment counts.
Comment below and let me know how you like to connect with your kids! Do you have any other great ideas? I’d love to hear from you!