The new year is a great time to make all those resolutions we never keep 😊. It’s also a great time to think about our parenting strategy, our children and our families, and to adopt new family traditions. It’s a great time to think not only about the things that mean a lot to our kids, but also the things that mean a lot to us.
Experts say that the more children feel connected to us, the more that they feel like they matter, the less they are likely to act in ways that can damage your relationship.
In other words, the more you strengthen your parent-child bond, the higher your chances of reducing or eliminating problem behavior.
The good news with kids is that even the littlest things that are not necessarily a huge deal to us can make a huge impact on our kids: staying up a little later on some nights, getting an extra serving of desert, having 10 minutes more of screen time, spending special time with mum or day doing something as simple as a 15-minute board game.
Doing these simple things for your kids shows them that they are special and loved. Here are 10 easy things that you can do to let your child know that they matter.
1) Let them have an occasional special treat. That could mean having two servings of their favorite dessert, having their pancakes with their favorite topping, or getting an additional 10 minutes to spend on something that they like.
2) Start a family tradition. Family traditions are one of the most effective and easiest ways to bond your family, and the good news is that there are hundreds from which to choose from: a family gratitude routine, Sunday pancakes, movie night every Saturday, pizza night or game night every Friday, – the list is endless. This article has great ideas to choose from.
3) Spend quality time together. Schedule 10 to 20 minutes every day to do one thing with your kids. You can spend that time playing a board or video game, listening to music, reading, preparing dinner, doing a chore together, or doing whatever your family enjoys.
An easy way to make this happen is to have the entire family brainstorm about things that they would like to do and then schedule those activities over a month and do one activity per day. This free downloadable 30-day challenge has great, simple, and short ideas if you need help.
4) Start a day or night date. Spending time with only one of your children can make them feel special. You can go for walks, go see a movie, do something they love, and so on. This can be really time consuming so think carefully about whether you would like to adopt it or not and choose a schedule that works for you to avoid getting overwhelmed.
5) Say yes, at least once, to something you would normally say no to. To avoid sending mixed signals, let your child know that this is something that is not likely to happen again anytime soon!
6) Share your child’s interests. I can’t make heads or tails of most of the video games my kids enjoy, but I play with them sometimes and mostly watch them play. It can be easier to just find something your kids love, and you can stand so at least everyone has fun. I love Badland, so we all enjoy playing that game together.
7) SOME of children’s artwork is fantastic 😉. Displaying it can help give them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
8) Don’t turn everything into a big deal. If you turn everything into a big deal, your kids will find it harder to differentiate between what really matters and what doesn’t, to differentiate between your negotiables and your non-negotiables. How important is it for your child’s bedroom to be picture perfect? Or for them to make their bed as though they were in the army? Not everything is worth making a fuss over.
9) Grant your child greater autonomy. We all want our kids to be more independent as they grow older, but many of us still do things that prevent them from fighting their own battles or making and learning from their mistakes.
Let your child make more decisions, even if you might have to set a framework within which to make those decisions (“you can do your homework whenever you want, but it must be complete by 18h”).
Chores are also an easy way to teach your child about responsibility and to show them that they are capable of successfully completing tasks by themselves.
10) Let your child overhear all the wonderful things that you say about them.
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