5 ways to begin building a more connected relationship with your kids

If you have a desire to develop a more connected relationship with your kids, here are five ways to begin turning that desire into a reality.

1.) Listen. Take the time to listen intently to your child and truly hear what they’re trying to tell you. A huge part of that means, you’re committed to putting away any distractions (that includes your phone) and fully focusing your attention on your child. When you listen in this way, your child will come to know that they are really important to you. In addition to that, you’ll be modelling a good aspect of a healthy relationship to them and that’s pretty awesome.

2.) The eyes are the window to the soul. That saying is so true. If you want to get some insight into your child’s inner world, their thoughts, feelings etc. take the time to look into their eyes. Now, every child has a different tolerance level for eye contact so take that into consideration but as much as they’ll allow it, let them know you’re paying attention to them by looking into their eyes as they share with you.

3.) Positive touch. Another way to deepen the connection with your child is to use positive touch. You could be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, rubbing their back, cuddling them or holding hands. The reason why this is important, is because positive physical touch will help lower their heart rate, slow their breath, decrease their stress hormones and help boost their immune systems. Try for twelve positive touches per day and over time you’ll see the wonderful difference it makes.

4.) Empathize. This one ties in with listening but it goes even further. When your child is sharing something important to them, don’t listen to jump in and respond. Instead, take a moment to pause after they’ve shared. Allow silence to settle for a bit, that gives them more time to talk if there’s anything else they want to say. After that moment of quiet, you can respond by saying something like, “I’m really sorry that happened to you.” Simply acknowledging what our kids go through; empathizing with them, will help them feel like you understand them, you get them and that you are there for them.

5.) Smile and laugh. In our society that’s filled with incessant busyness, try and pause and smile at your kids more often. The first moment you see them in the morning, offer them a big smile. Let them know you’re happy to see them and you’re grateful to have them in your life. Find times throughout the day when you’re together to laugh and have fun together. These are the childhood memories you want your kids to remember, so take the time to smile, laugh and have fun with them.

We can all learn from each other. So, share some of the ways you are building a more connected relationship with your kids?

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Teaching our kids about healthy friendships

Helping our kids navigate friendships is so tough. There are times as moms, where we see that our child’s friendship seems unhealthy, but we struggle with what to do to help our kids through those situations. I’m starting to realize, that a part of the approach to dealing with this issue, is helping our kids identify not only what kinds of friends they want to have but what kinds of friendships they should try to avoid.

So how would I describe an unhealthy friendship to my kids? Hmm, that’s a tough one. However, if I were to hazard an approach, here’s what I would do. I would encourage my kids to begin to take notice and observe their friendships a little more. When they share a piece of good news with their friend, I want my kids to notice if that friend seems happy for them or do they say something to brush it aside and act like it’s no big deal, or do they respond with an even bigger more important thing that they did. I want my kids to be surrounded by friends who can receive and give encouragement. I’m also planning on asking my kids to observe their own pattern with their friends and adjust accordingly.

The other thing I’d like to encourage my kids to pay attention to is whether their friend is open to sharing them with other good friends or if they only want to keep the friendship isolated to the two of them. On the other hand, does their friend tend to ditch them when someone ‘better’ comes along?

I also want my kids to be aware of how their friends make them feel. When they hang out with their friend, do they feel encouraged and supported or does their friend say mean things to them, while sometimes even presenting it as ‘just a joke’.

Establishing healthy friendships is an important lesson we can teach our kids. As we know all too well, our teaching tools can’t only be verbal. We need to utilize other resources to help the life lessons we try and teach be even more effective. So how do you do that? Well, in a situation like this, it means taking the time to double check our friendships too. As moms, we’ve got to practice what we preach. So, if we have unhealthy friendships in our lives, maybe it’s time to let them go. Share your realization with your kids, talk openly about your reasons for wanting healthier friendships and how you’re going about distancing yourself from your unhealthy friend. Maybe watching your process of choosing healthier friendships, will inspire and motivate your child to choose healthier friendships for themselves too.

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