When your child gets home from school or an extracurricular activity, chances are he will want to share his experiences with you. If you're caught up in emailing, texting or talking on the phone, you may lose your window of opportunity to engage with your child. When he first walks through the door, put away your cell phone and sit down with him for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Look him in the eye, ask questions and really engage with him as you discuss his day.
At least once a month, set aside a day to bond with your child. If you have several kids, make sure they each get their own special days. The amount of time you set aside depends on the child and the activities you plan, but make sure to involve your child in the planning process. If one of your children is a history or art buff, plan a trip to your local museum. If you're the parent of a sports fanatic, hit the batting cages together. If your child loves to bake, spend the day in the kitchen or at a cooking class. The point is to engage with your child while supporting and sharing her interests.
Most kids feel special on their birthdays, but remembering and commemorating other landmark occasions will help him build a history of personal traditions. These special anniversaries could be as simple as a half-birthday celebration exactly six months after his birthday, or they could be more significant, like the anniversary of his recovery from a major injury or illness. These celebrations don't need to be large; just a card or a bouquet of flowers is all it takes to say, "I love you and I remembered."
Kids love knowing that their presence and input is important. Ask your children to help plan special events or to provide input on major family purchases and decisions. Your children will feel special knowing you love and respect their opinions, and this will allow their confidence to grow.
Physical bonding between parents and children carries importance throughout life. Create routines that involve hugging, kissing and hair tousling. For instance, give a hug and kiss every morning before your child leaves for school, and then again before she goes to bed at night. Pat her on the back when she gets home for the day, and tousle her hair or rub her shoulder every time you walk past. The more she knows you're there for her physically and emotionally, the more secure and special she'll feel.
Encouraging our kids and celebrating what makes them special are so important. Watch this video for some advice on the best ways to do this.
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