A child’s relationship with their parents helps form the basis of future relationships. Therefore, you should foster a loving and caring relationship as a parent. Let your child know you are their safe space, and they can come to you with any of their problems.
Building a close relationship with your child takes time and effort. And apart from ensuring that you provide them with a positive environment, spend quality time with them, respect their privacy, and offer them your trust.
8 Ways You Can Stay Close to Your Child
Parents have different parenting styles, but you can use these eight tips to stay close to your child.
- Having meals together
If you have school-going kids, you all come together in the evening. Aim to have dinner together and ensure all the phones are off or away from you. This will allow you to be together in real-time and have genuine conversations.
During your dinner, you can ask questions to get to know them better. You can start by inquiring about their day, what they are grateful for, and their future aspirations. You can buy cards that will guide your conversation during meals, as asking the same question daily becomes boring.
- Words of affirmation
Children love to hear words of love and affirmation. So make sure to tell them often that you love them. And even if you discipline them for bad behavior, do it with love.
If you reprimand and don’t show your love, your child may misunderstand and assume that you resent them causing them to distance themselves from you. Remember to reward good deeds if they do well in school or do chores at home. This helps improve their self-confidence and self-esteem, which will help them in future relationships.
- Have heart-to-heart conversations
Children are going through significant changes in their lives. Therefore, as a parent, make a point of having heart-to-heart conversations with your child several times a week. This helps you check in on all that is happening in your child’s life.
Making it a routine to talk to your child about everything makes them feel closer to you. You can make this a bedtime ritual and do not shy away from specific topics, such as sex or dating. Let them know it’s a safe space, and they can share anything with you. By doing this, your child will view you as their best friend, and they will never hide anything from you.
- Give them their Independence, but stay close
Children, especially teenagers, love to spend time with their friends more than with their parents. You must understand that it’s a phase that will pass. Therefore, give them their independence, but it must come with boundaries. For instance, you can allow supervised dates or sleepovers.
You can also ask them to invite their friends after school and make them snacks. This will allow you to know who your child is associating with.
Giving your child independence means they have a right to make their own decisions.
- Play together
Create time to play games with your child to help their overall growth and development. You can play over the weekend or in the evening while waiting for dinner to be ready.
Make sure to choose games to help your child develop their language and communication skills, social skills, creativity, and how to express themselves. Some games you can play with your child include building blocks, football, singing, painting, cooking, and legos.
Always ensure you are 100% present while playing these games by switching off or keeping your phones away. Set aside an hour several times a week to play with your child. You and your child will appreciate and bond over these moments as they grow older.
- Show them love
Don’t just tell your child I love you. Let your actions speak. We know that people understand love differently, and some feel love through touch, words, gifts, and acts of service. Your child may be young, but they know that love is paramount in every relationship. Furthermore, showing your child love helps with their neurobiological and emotional development.
Children who grow up in loving families do not have self-esteem or self-confidence issues. So, make a point of hugging your child at every opportunity. This helps you develop an intense connection with your child. Children love gifts, and the good thing is they don’t care whether it’s expensive. It can be a hat, a necklace, or a cute trinket.
Speak to your child with love and affection, smile at them, and encourage open lines of communication.
- Set rule and age-based punishment
Nurture your children to grow into mature and respectable adults. You can do this by guiding and teaching them how to interact with people outside their environment.
Your children should grow up knowing what is expected of them and the consequences of bad behavior.
You also need to set clear rules and boundaries to be adhered to in your household. For instance, if your child is a teenager, they should know to ask permission when going out, and in the event they sneak out, the consequences should also be clear.
- Acknowledge their feeling and opinions
Children have feelings and opinions like every other human being, and it would be great if their parents acknowledged them. Therefore, let your child speak and listen without interrupting. This is the first step to creating an unbreakable connection.
After listening, acknowledge their feelings, tell them you understand, and then work together to devise a solution to their issues. In the future, your child will have no problem expressing their opinions.
As parents, we have a weakness of brushing off our children’s problems, terming them insignificant or not serious. When you do this, your child perceives it as you invalidating their problems, making them feel as if they are overreacting.
So the next time your child has an issue, they will stay quiet instead of sharing it with you. And this may significantly affect their mental health and compromise their self-esteem and confidence.
A parent’s biggest mistake is assuming their child is okay with their absence. Every child wants to experience their parents’ love and affection. They grow up stronger and more confident in close-knit families where love and affection are not limited. Therefore, every parent should utilize the tips above to stay close to their child.