Do you know what it takes to have a close relationship with your child as they grow from infants to adults? The answer isn’t surprising but often overlooked. Spending intentional time with your child and creating special moments will cultivate a lasting bond between parent and child.
Rebecca Sauer, program manager for the Catholic Charities counseling program offers four tips to encourages parents to create special moments with their children.
“Bed time is an important bonding time for children and their parents,” said Sauer.
Reading your children a bedtime story may seem like a nice thing to do, but it is more important than you think. Not only are you reading to your child, you get a chance to pass on life lessons, values and your beliefs based on the stories you choose.
As your children get older, don’t neglect this important connection time. “Read the classics with your tweens,” said Sauer. “Sit down with your tween or teen and talk about your life growing up, especially stories of from when you were their age.” This routine can help them feel more connected to their family.
Just as a husband and wife need time together, so do children and their parents. From the time your child is born until they move out of the house -- each parent should plan a special date for one-on-one time. This can be challenging if you have several children, but it is important. This should be a fun time -- like a trip to the park or library, a picnic or working on a craft together. Older children may enjoy shopping, dinner or even volunteering together.
After your child reaches ages or 8 or 9, schedule regular interviews every month or two. This is a serious interview that will give you a glimpse into your child’s life. “Ask where they think they are in life, what are their immediate and future goals, what expectations do they have,” said Sauer. “Take the opportunity to offer feedback and help them think through their goals.”
As you go through a typical day, include your children in your tasks like helping prepare dinner, folding laundry or setting the table. It’s often easier and quicker to do things on your own, but as you children grow, you’ll teach them how to work hard and take care of themselves.
If you need help learning to connect with your family, Catholic Charities has counselors throughout the Phoenix Valley to help you. Please call 602-749-4405 to make an appointment and ask about our low rates based on your ability to pay.