Are you looking for some ideas on how to intentionally build stronger relationships with your young child? I’ve got 10 essential tips that are both easy and so effective.
Building relationships is living intentionally at its finest, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to do. While being intentional can be quite basic in execution, the end result is anything but basic. In fact, I think it would be accurate to say that the end result can be life changing in the lives of both you and your child. The dynamics between moms and young children can be unique.
The reality of living in the world is that nothing is guaranteed. None of us are promised an easy road, a happy ending, or even our next breath. Living intentionally means seizing every moment we are given and squeezing every last breath out of it – even when we don’t particularly feel like it.
Although this post is written with young children in mind, they are basic principles that can be applied to the relationships we have with our children of any age. Living intentionally with your child will be welcome at any age whether 3, 13, or 33!
If you are wondering where you can find more time in your day, believe me, I understand. Life is busy, life is very busy, and at times when you hear something, even something good, you can wonder how to squeeze one more thing into your day. However, many of these things only take a few moments, and you will be so glad you took that time.
Here are ten ways that you can do some relationship building with your young child, or your child of any age, today!
1. Listen with your full attention and without interrupting
This means listening with your eyes as well as with your ears. I am so bad about this one since I live with people who like to take the long way around when telling stories. I like to communicate with people who are precise and to the point, however, not all people like to communicate this way. No matter how your child is communicating with you, they deserve your full attention with your eyes on them. Doing so tells them that what they are saying to you is of value and that they matter.
2. When communicating with your child, whether listening or talking, get on their level
I am referring to the physical sense here. When communicating, either come down to their level or bring them up to yours. Look in their eyes. Although you are in authority, meaningful and intentional conversation occurs when your child can relate to you on the same level.
3. Become a student of your child
Learn what interests them, learn what they think about, learn what makes them tick. When you know the answer to questions like these, you can come into their world. While our kids spend so much time becoming part of our world based on the routines, schedules, and lifestyles that we keep, stepping into their world is all about spending time doing what matters to them. Even if you are playing pirates for the fifteenth day in a row, if this speaks to the heart of your child, this is exactly what you want to do to foster a close and meaningful relationship with them.
4. Schedule regular date nights with your child
This is time away, one on one, with each of your children. These don’t have to be fancy, expensive, or in some way extraordinary events, but they will still be an effective way to really love your child. We strive to do this with each child once every couple of weeks. Some ideas could be heading to the park, going on a nature walk, visiting the library, toy store, or pet store if they are an animal lover. Plenty of these activities are free. For more on free activities, read *20 Free Outings With Kids.
5. Physical touch
We are created as people who crave physical companionship, and physical touch is an important aspect of this. We are relational beings who find fulfillment in the relationships we share with others, and physical touch is a way of expressing how we feel about those around us. Physical touch is such an important part of the relationships we have with our young children.
6. Anchor the beginning and end of your day
What I mean by this is taking the very first couple of minutes and the very last couple of minutes of your day and having a positive and engaging few moments with your child. This can be as simple as greeting your child with a smile and asking them how they want to spend some free time later in the day. Bedtime is a very special time of the day as well, and it is also an opportunity for some simple, meaningful, and even silly conversations that connect your hearts. My post, *30 Lay Me Down Questions to Capture the Heart of Your Child, is a great place to start. There is even a free printable there so you can keep the questions right in your child’s bedroom if you choose!
7. Daily one on one time
We call this “10 minutes” in our house. I do everything in my power to have this 10 minutes with each kid once each day, and for the most part it works. If 10 minutes is not the right amount of time for you, discover what time is the right amount of time for your family and put it into action. This is time that is of your child’s choosing. Maybe they will want to read a quick book, play a quick game, or build legos. However your child chooses to spend that time is what you should try to make happen.
8. Before you react, whether in a positive or negative way, take a step back, pause, and take a quick breath or two
This gives you time to choose the best response and to choose the response that would be most appropriate and beneficial. Maybe you will decide that you need to heap on some extra encouragement, maybe you will determine that you need to implement a consequence, or maybe you will decide that doing nothing at all is your best option. Taking that time to step away is how you can best choose how to proceed in a way that is most intentional.
9. Laugh daily
Laughing together is so important. It can be the solution to easing tension, shifting from something negative to something positive, or just temporarily forgetting about where life has taken you in this moment. Laughing, those really deep belly laughs, are so vital to building strong and meaningful relationships.
10. Tell your child you love them – repeatedly
You can’t ever tell kids of any age that you love them too often. We can show our kids we love them, we can assume they know that we love them, but there really is no substitute to just saying the words. Just say, “I love you,” those three words, and say them often.
As moms we are so often looking for some easy yet effective ways to connect with our children. Here are ten great ways to focus on building relationships with your young, or even your older, child.