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Let’s face it. Finding common interests between you and your child can be challenging at times; how can two people with such a big age gap even connect? He’s into dinosaurs, you’re into cars. She’s into tea-time you’re into Sudoku’s. How do you “meet in the middle” when it seems like there is not even one?
The first thing you should know, is that it IS possible. No, not even is it possible, but it can be easy!
Let me show you a few fun ways you can connect with your child starting right now. After all, the secret to great parenting roots from a strong connection with your child.
Listen and empathize
Seems simple enough, right? Yet too many times parents are preoccupied, trying to do two things at the same time. Talking with their children yet their minds are somewhere else. Too many mindless nods, too many empty smiles. The first step in creating a strong bond with your child is to be present in the moment. While they are talking to you, the rest of the world should be on pause. No worrying about your job or thinking about something else. Truly concentrate on listening to what they are saying; in doing so, you will be able to empathize and respond effectively.
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Take an interest in their friends and school work
As a young kid, your life is normally separated into your home life and your school life. Try to be an active participant in both. Take an interested in your children’s school life. Make them teach you what they have learned. Ask them about their friends, and again, truly listen to their responses. By getting involved in all aspects of their life, your presence will be more evident and your connection stronger. Take an interest in the life they live that you don’t get to see.
Introduce hobbies neither of you have tried before
Doing things neither of you have done before will be exciting for both of you! It will also be a great connection exercise since you will both be going through the experience of figuring it out for the first time. You will have to fall back on each other to get it done. So pick up a 1000 piece puzzle at the store or learn how to cook a delicious pastry. Take up woodwork and build a small table together or try to learn to juggle, see who can get it first! Whatever it is, if it’s new to both of you, you will both be eager to do it.
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Build and keep traditions
Whether it’s a book before bedtime, singing along to music in the car on their way to school, or caching up over dinner, keep the rituals going. These moments of accustomed interaction make you a constant in their lives. While these may seem like trivial things you do each day, realize that they are as important, if not more, than grand gestures. These traditions reassure your child of your bond. If you don’t have any traditions yet, begin some and stick to them. Consistency is key when it comes to building a connection with your child!
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These are just a few ways you can begin to create a deeper and more meaningful connection with your child. As you can see, there are more valuable things you can give your child than just your time.