6 Simple Steps to Connect With Your Kids
BY CHRISTINA LOEWEN
When my second daughter was born, I began to realize that my toddler and I weren’t connecting with each other like we once did. I knew that once the baby came things would be different but I hadn’t anticipated the disconnection between my toddler and I. I became so caught up in the lack of sleep, dealing with a difficult baby, and trying to balance everything that I ended up losing touch with my toddler as a result. This was a feeling that I don’t want to experience ever again.
I decided that building a connection with my toddler had to be a priority and began researching ways to regain her trust and connection. Here are the ways I found helped us reconnect and build a strong bond between us.
1. Communicate : This is so important. Make sure you are constantly talking and listening to your child. All the time; not just when they are upset. I’ve made it a habit to ask my toddler questions about her day and about how she’s feeling throughout the day. Take a genuine interest in what they are saying. They need to know that you care about them and what they have to say. Good communication is key to building a bridge to them and teaches them skills that they will need later on in life.
2. Empathy and Validation : Rather than getting angry or lecturing my toddler, I started validating her feelings and letting her know I understood why she felt the way she did. This takes discipline as parents and can be difficult to master. To validate and empathize with them you are saying “Your feelings matter and I understand why you are feeling this way”. It is important to acknowledge their feelings in a non judgemental way. Toddlers feel very strongly about things and just because you think it is silly, their feelings are very much real and it is not wrong to feel emotions.
After I started doing this I noticed that she would trust me and listen to me a lot better than before. She became a lot less defiant and her meltdowns decreased because she was able to come to me for help. Let them know that your love for them is unconditional.
3. Find common interests : Find something to do that you both enjoy and can bond over! For us, it’s going for nature walks. Doing things that you love together is not only an excellent bonding experience but it creates memories that you and your child will grow to cherish forever.
4. Affection : It is so important to make sure you are giving your child lots of affection! Life is busy and stressful so it can be easy to forget to do this every day but affection creates strong bonds between children and their parents. Give your kids a warm hug and a big kiss every day and tell them that you love them. Affection is said to have many developmental benefits as well!
5. One on One Time : After having my second child, one on one time with my first became scarce. Even when we are spending quality time together, it is often dictated by what the baby needs. This means if we are out doing something that my toddler loves, we have to leave when the baby is upset or can’t handle the situation. I realized that my toddler desperately needed some one on one time with me and began setting up dates for us where I’d have someone watch the baby and take her out. Having one on one time with each child lets them know that you value your time with them.
6. Give Them Your Full Attention : It’s not always easy to give your kid your full attention, especially if you have other children who need it as well. This doesn’t mean that you need to give your child your undivided attention all day long but you do need to learn to recognize when they do need it. When your child wants to talk to you then make sure you get down to their level, make eye contact, and hear them out. If they want to show you something that they think is cool, then look at it. If they are upset and come to you for help then don’t turn them away even if it is totally ridiculous or you are busy. Remember, if they are coming to you for help, it means that they trust you so make sure you do your best to give them your full attention!
My name is Christina and I am a mother of two little girls: Scarlett and Georgia. We live in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia called Kelowna.
I am most passionate about photography and writing in all of its beautiful forms. I love to capture all of our adventures big and small. I am a full time mom and I deeply cherish all the time that I get to spend with my children. I am a sensitive soul and love to find magic in the everyday.
You can find me on my blog at thescarlettdoor.com.
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I remember the exact day when I realized I needed to find a way to be more patient. My daughter was almost two and was going through a phase where she wanted to be held all the time. I went into the kitchen to try to get the dishes done and she followed me crying then clung to my leg screaming because I wasn’t holding her. I felt my anger boiling up and I was unable to push it down. I yelled, which made things worse, and ended up sinking to my kitchen floor in tears feeling completely overwhelmed by guilt.After, I picked myself up and
held my daughter tight.