How to make the most of ‘together time’
Quality time with your child is part of the foundation of a great relationship. What tweaks can you make to build this into your everyday routines?
Spending time with your child is crucial for their overall wellbeing and development. It strengthens the parent-child connection and teaches kids that they’re loved and important. During this time together, it’s important to pay full attention to your little one and join in with whatever they’re doing. It’s so good for kids to feel like they’re your focus in these moments. It sends a clear message that they deserve this special time.
A learning opportunity
From a parent’s point of view, these are valuable opportunities to stay in tune with your child. You will be able to learn more about your little one’s opinions, hopes and fears. You may be surprised at how much they are aware of and have feelings about! It’s also a great chance to show your child that you are always there for them.
You can ask them questions and give them advice on any worries they feel and you can set a good example for them based on your life experience. Fostering this consistent relationship will give your child the strength to feel safe during times that you are apart or unable to give them your full attention.
Putting in this effort while children are young will not only ensure that your relationship is strong during their childhood, but it also lays the foundations for a steady, honest and open relationship through the tricky teenage years.
Your inner child
Spending this time with your child can also be wonderful for you, the parent. Use these moments to reconnect with your own inner child, to allow yourself to play and be present. It feels so lovely to spend close time with your little one, catching up on their day and how they’re feeling overall. These times don’t have to be extravagant or planned out far in advance – in fact, sometimes the simpler the better. A joyful, stress-free experience is all that’s required.
ACTIVITIES FOR BONDING TIME
Special days out are a brilliant part of any childhood but often the best times are those that are a part of everyday family life. Read our ideas below for some activities to help you to get some quality bonding time with your child.
One of the best activities is to take a trip to the playground. If you live close by, try to walk or cycle and have some fun along the way! Once there, let your child try their hand at all the different activities, engaging in things like climbing, swinging, running and jumping.
Don’t stand at a distance either, feel free to be right alongside and watch as they chat away throughout their adventures! For more gentle times, you could lie beside each other and watch the world go by, pointing out different things you can see to one another.
Card games and board games are a great place to get to know your child on a deeper level. You will get a closer look at how they think and what they feel. Colouring together is a good time to ask questions about any stresses or worries your little one may have. This is a great trick because their attention is mainly focused on the page in front of them, which in turn makes them more likely to speak honestly about how they’re feeling without holding back or feeling embarrassed.
Indoors is a safe place to engage in some physical play, like chasing or play-wrestling with each other. This will give your child a chance to practise being strong and exercising while having fun and feeling close to you.
In the car
The car journey to and from school each day naturally offers a few moments to connect with your child. You can sing along to songs on the radio, make a school trip playlist, count how many red cars pass by, play guessing games and tell stories. On longer car trips, you can ask your child to point out something they like and get them to tell you all about it and why they like it. Feel free to ask lots of questions and listen to what your child has to say.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD MISBEHAVES
If your child acts out or misbehaves during these times where you’re trying to forge a deeper connection with them, don’t take it personally and try not to get frustrated. It’s not because they don’t want this connection – it’s usually because they’re finding the activity difficult or they have tired themselves out more quickly than you expected.
Be patient and consider adjusting the activity to suit them a little better. It might be that they would prefer something more passive like sitting and talking, or perhaps they would rather go on the swings because they’ve been sitting still for too long. Remember to ask your child to try to explain why they’re upset. More often than not, they will have the answer.
These occasions are a great opportunity to teach your little one about expressing themselves instead of throwing a tantrum, that it’s okay to be upset sometimes and how to calm down naturally. Close times spent with your child are some of the most important for both of you. Stay engaged, happy, open and honest with them and they will return the favour, building a loving and lifelong connection between you.