Ways to Bond with Your Kids

Portrait of happy grandma, mother and daughter

Creating Special Moments

Think back to the memories you have of your parents. What do you remember? Family vacations in new and exciting places? Random trips to the ice cream shop? The Friday nights you would play games until bedtime? For most of us these are the positive memories we want to relive. As a parent, you want to create happy memories for your children, but how do you accomplish this?

  • Establish Traditions Early

Traditions are an easy way to bond with your child. If you are a parent with more than one child, consider establishing both family traditions and individual traditions with each of your children.

New traditions for your family might include:

  • Game night
  • Movie night
  • Participating in a yearly event (charity walk, parade, art show, garage sale)
  • Wrapping holiday presents together
  • Breakfast for dinner once a month
  • “Stay-cations” to celebrate special achievements
  • Sharing a meal with your extended family
  • A family prank war

Check out some additional ideas for creating family traditions and strong memories.

  • Turn Your Technology Off

It may not seem like a distraction, but studies show we check our cell phones more than 1,500 times a week and use our devices for an average of three hours and 16 minutes a day. When spending time with your children during normal activities, disconnect from technology. Your children deserve your full attention and they will notice when they have it. Consider establishing “no technology zones” in your home (dinner table, bedrooms, and porch). Don’t forget, you still have to follow the rules, even if you created them.

  • Insist on Family Dinners

The Family Dinner Project reports that eating five meals a week as a family can lead to better academic performance, greater self-esteem and a lower risk of substance abuse, depression, pregnancy, eating disorders and obesity. A study from Columbia University yielded results that teens who frequently ate with their parents reported having a high-quality relationship with both their mother and father.

Set a concrete time for everyone to gather at the table. Your children can help you by setting the table and getting drinks for each family member. After the meal they can help by clearing the table and washing and putting away the dishes.

During dinner be sure to engage with each child and keep the conversation going. Consider making the dinner table a technology free zone to encourage conversation. If you’re not sure what to talk about, The Family Dinner Project offers a number of different starters based upon the ages of your children.

  • One-on-One Time

When you have more than one child, finding alone time to spend with your children/child can be difficult. However, one-on-one time with each parent has the most potential to create lasting memories and strengthen your bond.

Check out these ideas to help you create individual time for each of your children:

  • Let your oldest skip a nap to hang out with you while his/her siblings sleep.
  • Take a child with you holiday shopping for gifts for his/her siblings. You can share the secret.
  • Bake or cook a yummy snack together (something your children typically don’t eat).
  • Plan and execute a surprise for other family members.
  • Teach them something new like, how to put on lipstick, plant a flower or change the oil in the car.
  • Let your child do something they are normally not allowed to do, such as staying up past their bedtime to hang out with you, climbing a ladder to help with Christmas lights, holding the leash when walking the dog or driving the shopping cart.

Spending time with your children is the best way to show them you care. There is no right or wrong way to bond with your child. If you aim to create lasting memories, your bond will continue to strengthen each day.

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