If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that family is everything. During normal times, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of rushing out the door in the morning, coming home after school, rushing through homework and to extra curricular activities, eating dinner, and heading to bed. Living life on fast forward like that can make relationships suffer. If you’re wishing you knew how to build your relationship with your kids, here are a few ideas.
It’s easy to get distracted when your phone is constantly buzzing. Try turning off all electronics during a certain time of day. If this is too scary, start small – maybe 15 minutes – and then work toward a longer time without media. This means hiding your phone, turning off the tv, and connecting with each other.
Whether this means building a block tower with your toddler or creating fashion vlogs with your tween, find a way to connect with your kids on their level. If you aren’t sure how, watch what they do when you aren’t around and ask if you can join them.
Set Aside One-on-One Time
Whether you have multiple kids, or you and your spouse are always together, setting side time to be with your child one-on-one can build your relationship instantly. This could be as simple as reading a book together or something more elaborate like hiking a difficult mountain. Working together to complete a challenge is an easy way to strengthen a relationship.
If your child resists your suggestion, ask what they’d like to do. Part of the fun could be planning an adventure together.
Build Your Relationship by Working Out Emotions
If your child feels like they’re always your last priority at the end of a busy day, they could have a lot of built up resentment. One way to build your relationship is by working out emotions and sharing when feelings get hurt.
Young kids respond well to using dolls or stuffed animals to talk through tough situations. Older kids might prefer to write you a letter, rather than saying what’s bothering them to your face.
Although confrontation can be uncomfortable, working out emotions is a sure way to let your child know how much they mean to you. It’s also a great opportunity for you to help teach them to talk through issues as they come up, problem solve, and compromise.
Share Peaks and Valleys
When you ask someone how they’re doing, most likely they’ll say “good.” The same is true for kids. If you ask them how their day was, you’ll likely hear a “good” or “fine” response.
Try implementing “Peaks and Valleys” to connect with your child on a deeper level. You could have this conversation during the drive home from work and school or during dinner. Take turns sharing your “peaks” (highlights of the day) and “valleys” (challenges or disappointments of the day).
Building Your Relationship Takes Time
Just because you’ve decided you want to build your relationship, doesn’t mean it’ll be easy right away. It takes time to strengthen connections. Have patience, adjust, and keep trying.