Making Time for Your Children: Healthy Bonding

Bonding with your children is of importance for their overall wellbeing—physical, emotional, and psychological. It makes a child feel asense of being loved, independence, and security. It is also mutually benefitting because your child learn about your values, beliefs, and expectations. On the other hand, you learn more about your child. This is the best way to nurture their growth and your relationship.

With so many demands on your time, it is often difficult for you to get together with your children for a family meal, let alone spend some quality time together. However, you can put in some conscious effort and follow some methods to build a natural, healthy, loving, and positive bond with your child:

  • Communicate: Talk to your child as much as possible. Make sure there is plenty of communication between you. You need not make an appointment to sit to talk. You can talk to them as you cook, do the laundry, fold the clothes, do the bed—you just need to figure out when. Even when you are doing these activities, give some attention to them and speak in a loving and caring manner, not as though you are doing them a favour.
  • Undivided attention: Spend quality time with your children. Don’t do any activity when they talk to you. When your child talks to you, sit down with your child, make eye contact, and if possible hold your child tenderly and affectionately. In short, give undivided attention to your children when they try communicating with you.
  • Listen to problems: Listen to your child’s problems. Some of them may seem very trivial to you, but do not laugh or tell them to forget about it. Remember it IS a problem for your child. It will mean a lot to them if you pay attention to it as well. Offer sympathy, support, and offer suggestions to overcome it. Remember, sometimes children take a lot of time and courage to express some of their problems with their parents. Ensure to be there when they want to talk with you. If there is really a problem, you can help them. After a later stage when your kids realize that it was not a problem at all, you can discuss it and laugh about it.
  • Say Yes: Instead of saying, “shall get back to you in 5 minutes”, you should say “shall listen to you for 5 minutes”. As a rule, when your child wants to talk to you, stop doing whatever you are doing—working on laptop, talking on phone, even house hold work. Talk to them—give them the first 5 minutes to judge the seriousness of the matter— if they are just telling you about some routine school activities, you may get back to your household chores where in your concentration is still on what they are saying.

If you think the topic is more important (to them, not to you), give full attention. For all you know it is an attempt where the child has gathered courage to talk to you about some serious issue.  Don’t tell the child to wait and teach them tolerance. It is something the parents need to have in the first place. Many suicides could have been prevented by giving a listening ear to the children at the right time.

  • Be there for them: Provide support (emotional or otherwise) and confidence to your children when they face the ruthless realities of life. Children are often scared and concerned about their future. They repeatedly require assurance and reassurance. If as parents, you cannot provide them support and confidence, who else can? If you case you can’t don’t do anything to help them, don’t do anything to strip off the little confidence they already have in them.
  • Don’t ignore: With our busy lives, instead focusing 100% of our attention on what our child is saying to us, we are often thinking about other things. Some parents often pretend to listen to their kids, or tell to talk while they are busy working on their laptops. Some parents just ignore their child’s attempts to communicate with them.

Somehow, I feel extremely sorry for such parents. In their timeless and egoistic life style, they themselves throttle the enthusiasm and confidence of their own children.  If you don’t give time for your children, they will often start to misbehave. Can you then blame the child for misbehaving? No way!! If parents can’t do their work of parenting, they have no right to find faults in their children. Remember, for a child, negative attention is better than being ignored.

  • Appreciate: Do not expect your childen to behave like adults and do not expect too much from them. This may frustrate you both. If your child gets 70% marks, appreciate it, and motivate him/her to do better.  Also, appreciate the things that your child does best—music, dance, sports, arts, etc. If you feel that your child is really intelligent and can easily get 80% marks, give positive encouragement and support and let them know you are there for them. But don’t push the child too much.
  • Play games:Play games with your children. Play games that your children are interested in and is at their level of ability and understanding. Try to introduce different types of games, instead of playing the same thing all over again.
    • Sometimes play games that will help in their development.
      Example: Scrabble improves vocabulary,  monopoly makes them understand finance related matters, Scotland yard makes them think in a structured manner, pictionary makes them think creatively
    • Sometimes play game just for the heck of it: ludo, snake and ladder, etc.
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