How do you build a parent-child relationship? These 10 simple parent-child interactions will help you develop a good parent-child relationship.
How to Build a Parent-Child Relationship
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Life can be so busy at times. At the end of some days, I feel like some of my only interactions with the kids go something like this: “hurry up”, “stop climbing on the table.” Or the best “we are going to be late, let’s go!” In today’s busy world it is hard to make the time to really focus on positive interactions with your kids and develop a good parent-child relationship.
Like all parents, my goal is to have a good parent-child relationship with my kids. I want them to know, no matter what I love them and am there for them! I want them to know they can tell me anything! Now, this doesn’t mean protecting them from getting in trouble because I am all about letting my kids fail and learn from their mistakes. So how do we build a parent-child relationship like this?
Here are 10 parent-child interaction activities to help build your parent-child relationship!
Why is a Parent-Child Relationship Important?
There was a study done a while ago where they gave a baby monkey a choice between two fake mothers. One was hard and cold but offered food. The other mother was soft and comforting but didn’t have any food. And guess what mother the baby monkey chose?! The soft mother even though it didn’t have anything to help him survive Why did this monkey choose this? Because children want a physical touch! Children want a parent who will love them and give them emotional support.
Growing up can be tough! There can be a LOT of questions that a child can have when going through puberty. Going through high school can be like navigating a minefield, especially when dealing with peer pressure. When your kids have questions you want them to come to you! So by developing a good parent-child relationship will make them want to come to you! You are like the soft monkey (although we offer them food too as a bonus!)
So how do you build a parent-child relationship where they feel comfortable coming to you?
Make Individual Time
One of the simplest parent-child interaction activities you can do is spend one on one time with your child. This sounds like a no brainer, right? But it can be hard just trying to find the time! So, schedule out one day a month where you take your kids (individually) out on a special fun date. It could be as simple as going for a walk or getting ice cream!
In my family, we each had a Daddy date. There were 7 kids, and we were all assigned a Saturday and got to choose the activity. We love these kid coupon books because it is full of parent-child interaction activities to spend time together that your kids and teenagers love!
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Parent-Child Interaction Activities
There are lots of things you can do with your kids to build a good parent-child relationship! Here are some ideas based off of their age.
Toddlers: Read to them, bake cookies, play with play-doh, create a sensory bin, go to the park, do a puzzle, color, have a dance party.
Teens: Play their favorite video game, go window shopping, go paintballing, have a water balloon fight, have them plan all the activities for one whole day
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Have you ever had that embarrassing moment where your kid points out your blemish on your face in front of everyone? Or maybe they remember that one time you yelled and lost cool and tells everyone at preschool? Yeah…not fun! But it shows that kids are honest and will usually tell us exactly how they feel.
LISTEN when they talk to you. It can be really easy to dismiss what your child is saying and give occasional nods. My 2-year-old says the funniest things that I never would have heard if I hadn’t been willing to talk to him on his terms. Look them in the eye and really have a sincere conversation with your kids! Sitting down and ACTUALLY listening to your kids shows them that you really do care.
With everything being online it is so hard NOT to be glued to your phone. I admit I am guilty of being addicted to my phone. That is why it is so important to take a couple of minutes each day to just unplug from your phone so you can give your kids your undivided attention. It can be hard (especially if you are like me and are constantly on your phone) but the reward of having your kids see that they are the most important things in your life is so worth it!
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Follow Through on Promises
Pinky promises are the contracts of childhood and how to build a good parent-child relationship is to always keep them. Break one of these promises and the trust is gone. So when you tell your kids that you are going to take them to the park, take them! Keeping your promises develops a good parent-child relationship. Be sure not to promise something that you know you probably won’t be able to keep. Empty promises are hurtful. If you have ever let an empty promise slide past your lips, you know that you never hear the end of it!
Physical touch is important! If your kids don’t always want to be hugged, a simple hand on their back while you help them with homework is GREAT too. Make sure to smile and make eye contact with your kids as well. Let them know that you actually enjoy being with them!
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As a parent, you are your kids biggest cheerleader. So get out those pom-poms and start cheering your kids on! It doesn’t just have to be words of encouragement. It could also be doing what they are interested in (even if you find it extremely boring). And DON’T forget to laugh with your kids! Have fun and be silly as their number one cheerleader.
Another great way to encourage your child is to figure out what their love language is. I have a son that thrives on praise. When my husband and I intentionally make an effort to cater to his words of affirmation love language, he beams and has a wonderful attitude about life.
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Kids LOVE feeling special! Nothing is more special than a secret handshake. Have your kids come up with a special handshake or code word that only you two know. Make it something you do whenever they walk in the door from school. Giving your kids something to look forward to really does make them feel special. Double win!
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Stay Connected Through Technology
Like I said before, it is almost impossible to do anything without your phone these days. So if you are going to be on your phone anyway, put it to good use! Send your kid a sweet text or send them a funny GIF or meme. Try having a whole conversation with only emojis! Having fun things like this helps you with being relatable to your child.
Your kids won’t want to invite you to play with them forever, so get down on the floor with them and play with them while they are still young! My toddler just started grabbing my hand and saying, “come on” and pulls me towards the toys. It can get annoying when I’m trying to do something but it is also SUPER sweet. I try to remember that someday that little voice might change from “come on” to “leave me alone.” So, I soak it all in while I still have my chance. If your kids are older try playing their favorite video or board game with them! Whatever they want to do just play with them!
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You’ve Got Mail
Sometimes life just gets crazy and it can be hard to tell our kids exactly how we feel. That’s why these “You’ve Got Mail Cards” are perfect! You’ve Got Mail Cards are little note cards that have prompts for you to write sweet messages to your kids! You can put it in their lunchbox or leave it on their bed as a little surprise for them. They will LOVE hearing from you and getting a fun little surprise. Try them today and let us know how it goes!
Kids grow up way to fast! Every time I blink it’s like my kids are a year older. That is why it is important to start building those positive parent-child relationships with your kids today!
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Rebecca is one of our interns this semester and will be graduating from BYU-I in April with her major in Family and Marriage Studies. She is married to the love of her life and has a beautiful2-year-old little girl. Rebecca has a of love music and spending time with family playing board games, camping, or just being silly.