Holding down a day job and meeting the demands of everyday life can make it seem almost impossible to develop a quality connection with your children. However, it is something that I hear myself bringing up often when I meet with parents.
It is usually relatively easy to read the signs and figure out when your child’s physical needs need to be met. Physical needs are signs such as your child showing you that they are hungry, need the bathroom or tired. However, it can be difficult to see the emotional signs that a child displays. Did you know that from the moment a child is born, a child give us signs about their emotional state.
These signs vary from child to child and is dependent on their age but things such as bringing you toys/random objects, talking to you and joining you in your personal space can all be indicators that your child would like to connect on an emotional level.
Tips for quality connection time
· Set aside daily time with your child. Try to do this face to face. If you are away and this is not possible, establish a routine for a video or phone call, leave a note in their lunchbox or a note by their bed
· Create a special ‘thing’ to do with your child each day where you are on their level and allow the child the independence whilst around you. This can look like allowing the child to pick their bedtime story
· Tell your child that you love them and how important they are to you daily
· Try to be with your child during mealtimes. If you are not able to eat the entire meal with your child due to the timing challenges, sit and eat a healthy snack or part of the meal with them and use this time for casual and relaxed chat
· Reinforce positive behaviour that you see happening. This helps create a sense of achievement and appreciation
· Organise an activity of your child’s choice. Put this in your calendar and follow through with it. Importantly, put your phone away so that the two of you have no distractions!
· Play with your child whenever you can. This can be during bath time, school drop off/ pick up- every opportunity is great
It is the quality of connection time that is really what is important.