Connect to your child
Here are four ways to connect to your child. Connection is important in our parent/child relationships. Kids who feel connected to their parent(s) are more likely to be cooperative. It is challenging in our busy lives to always make time for ideal moments for connection. Some days we spend a significant amount of time talking with our child, or playing games. Other days we may feel that we have done nothing but give directions and taxi our kids to and from activities. Whatever kind of day it is, it is important to connect with our kids every day. Here are some ways to create connection on even the busiest day…
Connect to your child with Eye Contact:
Pretty simple and straight forward…look in to your child’s eyes when they are speaking to you and when you are speaking to them. Making eye contact communicates that we are interested and paying attention. It can really make a difference and increase connection.
Connect to your child with Touch:
Hold their hand, rub their shoulders, even just putting your hand on their arm or knee can create a sense of connection. Hugs and snuggles with kids of all ages are important to maintain a sense of closeness.
Connect to your child by Noticing:
Simply stating what you observe without judgement… “You are working hard”, “You finished your chores”, “You were patient while waiting.” Making noticing statements communicates that you are paying a attention and increases kids’ awareness. In contrast, communicating judgment, “Good Job”, causes kids to focus on pleasing us rather than on feeling connected.
Here’s a great video on noticing.
Connect to your child by Acknowledging and Reflecting Emotion:
When you notice your child is happy, say “I see your smile! You seem happy.” When they are sad, say, ” You are crying and seem sad.” Angry…”You didn’t like what happened, you are feeling angry.” Making these comments lets kids know that you are attuned to how they are feeling. You are in the moment and connected to them.
Think about how YOU feel when someone makes eye contact with you vs when they don’t, or when someone you care about reaches out to give you a loving touch, or notices the things you are doing, and acknowledges you and your emotion vs when your emotion is overlooked or ignored. Kids are no different. As parents, we sometimes focus so much on directing, teaching and guiding, that we forget to invest in the connection. Taking the time to do these little things, shows our investment in them as people and that our relationship is important. Building connection, builds influence. Without connection, we have little influence and without influence kids are not likely to cooperate or be compliant. There are many ways we can connect to our child.
Natashia Symes, M.Ed, Registered Play Therapist – a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Registered Play Therapist (child therapist). Natashia trained with Terry Kottman and KC Play Therapy Institute to become a Registered Play Therapist. Natashia specializes in individual play therapy with children ages 3-12, as well as art and sand tray therapy to children, teens and adults. In addition to child therapy, and individual therapy, Natashia provides Parent Consultation services which are available in office. Treating every situation with a unique approach, she offers useful information and strategies that are immediately helpful in addressing your concerns.