We love our children and value connection with them and our time with family, but we lead busy lives, entirely inundated with technology, and we are constantly connected to things that happen outside of our home.
Unfortunately, it’s so easy to lose touch with our most valuable relationships as we quickly reply to one more email, WhatsApp a friend, post a quick update on Facebook, or entertain ourselves on Netflix.
The good news is that there are many very easy ways to regain those relationships and develop lasting emotional connections with our children, and it only takes us to put the phone aside for a couple of hours a day.
Now you have no excuse not to improve your relationship with them.
- PLAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Playing tag with them at home, taking them on their backs in a horse race, or playing sports with them: all are fun ways to play with our children that, at the same time, encourage and help us to make our relationship with them more deeply.
Pay attention to their feelings
To help our children develop a healthy relationship with their feelings, listen to them, even when they cry and have tantrums. Let them know that you are there, hug them, cuddle them and let them express themselves. Accept them and witness their emotions.
SHARE QUALITY LEISURE TIME WITH THEM REGULARLY
Set periods of 15 to 60 minutes and tell them that you are going to reserve a space to dedicate that time only to them, away from distractions, mobile phones, and social networks, and give them your full attention. You can even name it, especially if your kids are tweens or teens, to make it more attractive to them. Avoid the need to suggest or direct and let them guide you.
- FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Instead of constantly using social media, stay away from the phone and screens for 30 minutes a day to reconnect with yourself. Try meditation, reading magazines, painting, writing stories, yoga, or a nature walk. Take some time each day to let your thoughts and worries go, to purposely step away from screens and get in touch with who you are. This practice will help you find yourself and spend more time and attention with your children.
- MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Taking them to school, going to work, doing activities, and picking them up is a daily routine that doesn’t give us the time to stop, get some air and perspective, and look our children in the eye. Whenever you can, whenever you talk to them remember to make eye contact. This helps build a connection and maintain it over time.
- TALK TO THEM ABOUT THE BIG QUESTIONS IN LIFE
Does your 4-year-old already want to know where babies come from? Does your 8-year-old daughter have a hard time understanding her grandfather’s death? These doubts are very common and represent curiosities related to the most complicated issues in life. The truth is that it can seem overwhelming trying to explain it to a child, but you need to do it. Talk to your partner and decide what are the 3 most important things your child should learn about this topic. Then talk to him. Do you expect me to know that sex happens when two people love each other? So by the emphasis on the fact that people who love each other have babies (you can reserve the details of sex for when they are older).
Do you want them to understand that even if a person dies, they are still alive in all those who knew them? Then tell them to help bring them peace and perspective. The important thing is that you do not avoid these topics or assume that children will not be able to handle them or that they do not want to learn them from you. Children need to learn from their parents and guide their steps through their teachings. Build on your values and beliefs and teach them from them, in a kind and thoughtful way.
- TELL THEM MORE ABOUT YOUR LIFE
Children want to know what it was like for you to do the things that they are learning to do now. Tell them as many stories as you can about your childhood and adolescence. Your children should know everything they want to know about their grandparents when you learned to ride a bike when you fell in love for the first time and with whom, who went with you to your first dance, where you went on vacation with your family, books what you liked most as a child or what your friends were like. All these details help them feel closer to you and make decisions in their own lives.