Investing in the Relationship With Your Child
Parents often ask how to improve the relationship with their children, and one of the greatest ways to create closeness is to spend one on one time with your child. This is one of the surest methods to develop a relationship where your child can feel appreciated. Giving a child undivided attention sends a very important message. It lets your child know they are important and that you are interested to be with them.
Here are some of the reasons to consider creating one on one time with your child:
It boosts your child’s self-esteem. When children feel important and valued it helps them feel more worthwhile.
It strengthens the connection with your child. Just as when you give undivided attention to your partner or best friend, one on one time with your child allows you to really get to know them, their interests, their passions, and create memories.
It communicates respect to your children. They know you are busy, and for you to devote time just to be with them, your actions let them know that you respect them. And the best way to teach respect is to show respect.
It helps your child to feel they are worthy of love. When you provide undivided attention to your child separate from the others in your family, they feel needed and wanted.
It may curb negative attention-seeking behavior. Children often act out to get attention, and behaviors that are attended to are often repeated. Thus, when children act out negatively and continue to do so, this is because it works! It gets the attention of their parents. However, if you carve out a time where you can attend to your children and they receive positive attention, this may reduce the likelihood of unwanted behaviors.
While some parents initially feel overwhelmed trying to think about how to create this special time, it does not need to be that complicated. Ideally, this time is best spent when you allow your child to pick an activity of their choice and you simply participate with them.
Here are some recommendations to make one on one time a success:
It is best to follow their lead and make observations. (e.g., “Wow you drew such a colorful flower,” “Look at how you stack those blocks”)
Avoid questions, criticism, or giving direction. Remember, let them lead!
Avoid distractions. Put away your cellphone, turn off the television, and separate yourself from the other children or people in your family.
Avoid multitasking during this time. The goal is to give your child undivided attention and be fully present.
Thank them for spending the time with you. Let them know that you cannot wait for their next time together.
Schedule a time with your child so they know when the next one on one time will happen.
For those parents who think finding this time may be impossible here a few creative ways to still spend one on one time with your child. Studies show that it is the quality not quantity of this time that matters most. Some ideas to incorporate include:
Have one child per night help you cook dinner.
When possible, run errands with one child at a time.
Take walks around your neighborhood.
Join them alone for one of their interests (sports, fishing, Lego, etc.).
Do your individual chores together.
Read books together.
Do home projects together.
Make crafts and art projects together.
Play their favorite game.
Life always seems to move at a fast pace, and it can be easy to prioritize things like work, chores, and other responsibilities. However, taking a moment to slow down and devote time to give your child the attention they need and desire is an investment that will give you big returns.
To learn more about parenting interventions or to schedule an evaluation for your child to better understand their behaviors or challenges, call Dr. Heather Kuhl at 954-391-5305 for a free consultation.