We adore them, those worming, squirming, strong-minded kiddos of ours. But that doesn’t mean we get them. Closeness to them matters more than job security and a good credit line, combined. Yet, try as we might our ownership manual never arrived in the mail.
We must push their buttons and coax their minds in the hope that we will parentally succeed where others have failed. What can we do?
5 steps to better bonding with the most complex gadgets we have, our children:
1. Ask questions.
Not inquisition style, but inquisitive style. We ask because we care. Their thoughts are way more fascinating than TMZ. Even silly questions build foundations.
I enjoy ones like, “If you could bring any toy with you on a long plane ride, what would it be?” Remember, when they answer, they share their opinion. Opinions aren’t wrong.
2. Think ahead and make the questions complex.
Remember the good ‘ol days, when your family asked you questions, and you responded with the standard one-word response? Conversation didn’t get very far.
Solid questions require thought. If you were answering, could you respond quickly in one word or with detail. Kid convos which include details grow the conversation, lack of details kill it, and not in a good way.
3. Answer questions.
If our children know they can approach us on any topic, and they won’t be chastised or criticized, the likelihood they’ll return for more questions increases. I knew a teacher who had a poster in her class which stated, “The only stupid question is the one you never ask.” If we stick to that attitude, our kids know it and welcome our involvement in their lives.
We will have to let them know we’re open to their questions, though….especially if we have older children. A simple statement like, “Do you have any questions for me?” opens the conversational door to our lives. We will have to repeat the phrase often before we hear strong content questions, but silly ones still help them trust us.
4. Make eye contact.
Ever have someone talk with you who doesn’t look at you? It’s disconcerting. This happens to children constantly. We often need to stoop down to make eye contact, and this small workout pays off more than regular trips to the gym. It shows how valuable we feel they are.
5. Plan play times.
Not play-dates with friends, but family play time. Make sure it suits your family’s personality. Play could involve word games or rhyming. It includes video games or Twister. Play can be as detailed as a full-fledged family baseball game or as simple as a round of Angry Birds in the doctor’s office waiting room.
As parents ,we often tell our kids what to do and not to do, but play enables us to simply enjoy being together, because we like one another. You could sign up for every movement activity in town and join team after team, but if your family doesn’t enjoy time together, you’ll miss valuable connections which last a lifetime.
My choice today:
Make the effort to build bonds with my kids.
In comments, share ways you strive to build better bonds with your kids.
- How to build healthy family habits (paulawhidden.wordpress.com)