There’s no how-to manual on how to bond with your kids, so you’re going to have to do your own research. To get you started, we put together some of the easiest and most effective ways to form that special family bond with your children.
Like anything else in parenthood, it’ll take time and dedication, but eventually, it will work. Good things never happen overnight, and you can’t expect these tips to either. The sooner you start implementing these ideas, the sooner you’ll see results.
Family rituals are different than family traditions. Traditions usually occur once a year, but rituals should occur daily or weekly, like having a family dinner. As the kids get older, everyone’s schedules become hectic with sports, and after-school activities, so you might only have time for a family dinner once a week. If your kids are still young, try to eat together as much as possible.
Dinner time is an excellent opportunity to check in with everyone about their day. Checking in once a week is fine too. You can even go around the table and ask everyone what the high and low of their week was. Once kids get used to this, they start opening up more at the dinner table.
After dinner, go for a walk together. Leave the phones at home, except one in case of emergency, and talk to each member of your family one-on-one. Walking relieves the pressure of a face-to-face conversation. You can even bring the family dog. Walking after dinner also instills healthy and sustainable habits!
Physical touch is a crucial aspect of development and bonding. Studies have shown that an appropriate amount of physical affection from a parent can help regulate a child’s emotions long-term. Hug your kids every morning, but don’t forget to ask for consent. Respecting bodily autonomy is an important way to build trust.
A weekly family movie night or game night can be a ton of fun. Not every bonding exercise needs to be full of emotion. Sometimes, the low-key and fun moments are when children feel safe enough to share stories or aspects of their lives that they usually wouldn’t.
One On One Activities
Of course, one-on-one time is essential, but you should be doing your best to give each child daily undivided attention. This is especially important if you have more than one child. It’s also important to remember that if you have a baby, you shouldn’t hold them while you’re trying to give another child this undivided attention. If you’re holding another child, your attention is divided, and your other child will notice.
Plan activities around each child’s particular interest. These activities are an amazing chance to learn more about them while aiding them in developing their hobbies or talents. Who knows, the time you spend with them playing the piano could lead them to become a world-renowned pianist. By playing basketball with them when they’re younger, they could get a full ride to college. You never know.
Once a month, take them on a date. Parent-child dates are a classic way to strengthen the bond between the two of you. Take them out to lunch or even just for ice cream. The point is to check-in and give them more one-on-one attention.
There are also certain things that you should be doing daily to grow your bond. Even once the bond is there, these daily tasks will help you maintain it over a long period of time.
Always practice kindness. No child will feel comfortable confiding in a parent that they don’t think they can trust. Once your child believes that you will judge them and lecture them if they tell you about their life or problems, they’ll stop telling you anything at all. Sometimes, parenting isn’t about discipline; it’s about listening.
If you tell your children that they have to earn respect, you’ll have to earn their respect too. No one freely gives respect away, and they shouldn’t. As you’re creating a bond with your child, it shouldn’t be difficult to earn their respect simultaneously. If it is, you may have to do more than take your child on weekly dates to get their trust and respect back.
Brief daily check-ins are also a massive help in the process. Most parents already do daily check-ins, even if they don’t realize it, but it’s worth mentioning. These check-ins usually happen after school when they get home, and it sounds like, “Hi honey, how was your day?” Bonding doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. It’s about showing your child you care.
Finally, a super-easy way to help your bond is writing them notes and sticking them in their lunch box or notebook. It’s a quick way to remind them that you love them, that you’re thinking about them, and it’s an opportunity to send a reminder about anything important that’s going on that day. You can even wish them luck on a big test.
You Got This
Remember, bonding doesn’t happen overnight, and the older your child is, the longer it might take. Still, taking the time to bond with your child is more than worth it. That relationship is meant to last a lifetime. You have to start now. Hitting a few bumps in the road is normal; what truly matters is if and how you bounce back from them.
If you can’t do anything else, then prioritize listening to them. Listen to your kid’s complaints, under their breath mumbles, and their screams. If you pay close attention, they’ll probably tell you what kind of support they need.
Once you’ve worked so hard to create this bond, please don’t assume it will be there forever, and don’t let it slip away from you. Keep working on it every day so it will become strong and continue to grow with your child. Your bond needs to grow and develop as your child develops. If you do it right, you might even get lucky and have an amazing relationship with your teenagers.