Those of us who have children know how challenging parenting can be. While you’re also working a full-time or part-time job on top of parenting, making deeper connections with your children becomes extremely important in the time that you have together.
To help you along the way, we have prepared some powerful ideas for how to connect with your child in every available moment of the day. Brought to you by Hello Genius, an app for parents and children to learn and connect over what they love.
1. Be Fully Present with Your Child
With so many distractions in our lives, connecting with our children is something we have to make time for. The first and most essential step in how to connect with your child is to turn everything off (including the phone and mental to-do list) and simply be present.
If there is one thing that you put into practice, let it be this: When you or your child gets home, greet them enthusiastically, give them a big hug, look them in the eyes, and give them at least five full minutes of your complete attention. Whether it’s after school or in a dedicated one-on-one time, giving your child your undivided attention gives them the space to meet you heart-to-heart.
2. Stay Connected with Loving Touch
Hugs not only feel good, they are essential for your child’s growth and development. Family therapist Virginia Satir made this statement on the topic of how to connect with your child:
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
Scientific studies show how important touch is for building trust, reducing violence, and even strengthening the immune system! By connecting with your child through hugs, kisses, hand-holding, and high fives, you’re learning how to connect with your child as well as supporting their well-being.
3. Play and Laugh Together Every Day
Play is the language of children and also the primary way in which they learn. When you play and laugh together, you’re connecting with your children and producing endorphins as well as the love hormone, oxytocin. Coming up with ideas for how to connect with your child should take their age into account and the activities they find enjoyable. A younger child might prefer to play on the playground and build castles in the sandpit whereas an older child might enjoy strategy games or half an hour of one-on-one basketball.
Whichever game you choose to play, give your child your full focus, keep it fun and active, and get your child laughing by being a little bit silly or ending the game with a playful tickle fight.
4. Meet Your Child Where They Are
Really connecting with children requires you to get down to their level and see the world the way that they see it. In a physical sense, this means kneeling or squatting down to their eye level, listening to their point of view, and utilizing emotional outbursts as a learning tool rather than getting frustrated at your child’s behavior. When your child is upset, encourage them to calm down and use words to express their thoughts and feelings. Once you’ve focused on how to connect with your child in the midst of their emotions, you can then help them find appropriate ways to manage their feelings and brainstorm some win-win solutions together.
5. Connect Before Transitions
For a child, one of the most difficult challenges is handling transitions — leaving one activity and moving to the next. During the day, key transitions for your family might be dropping your child off at school or daycare, packing up after playtime, or putting down a good book to come and eat dinner. While they can be a challenge, learning how to connect with your child during these transitions can be an invaluable way to deepen your relationship.
When a transition is coming up, give your child a few minutes’ warning, then look them in the eye, use their name, and try to make it fun. Motivating your child to pack up by taking turns tossing toys into a basket creates a valuable moment together while achieving the job that needs to get done.
6. Learn About Your Child’s Interests
Everyone likes talking about things that interest them, so find out what interests your child and learn about it yourself! Learning how to connect with your child means really getting to know your child — their hobbies, their learning style, their strengths, and their weaknesses. For some parents, this will mean stretching your comfort zone to learn about a topic that doesn’t really interest you. For other parents, it will be easier to find a shared interest that you can learn about together.
7. Savor Each Moment
Our final tip for connecting with children is to make every moment special — no matter how mundane. Licking a bowl clean after baking, putting your arms around them while you tie their shoelaces, or taking turns blowing bubbles in the bathtub can turn everyday moments into pure magic. You only have 900 or so weeks to share with them, so work out how to connect with your child and make every minute of that time together count!
Learning about Your Child is the Key to it All
To start connecting more deeply with your children, you need to get to know them as well as you can. That’s where Hello Genius can help. An AI-powered learning platform, Hello Genius provides safe and inspiring exploration of multiple topics and builds a detailed picture of your child. In one convenient parent dashboard, you’ll be able to see your child’s interests and preferred learning style, helping you to target your time together towards activities your child will really enjoy.
Learn more about how Hello Genius works and choose a subscription package to help you get to know your child and figure out how to connect with your child.