5 Great Ways To Bond With Your Children

It is crucial for parents to bond with their children so that they can build a strong and healthy relationship.

DINNERTIME

In order to build a strong bond with your children, it is important to make your family a priority. Although it can seem difficult to get together for dinner every night, it is a hurdle that you should be determined to overcome. Your schedules are busy -- work, school, dance practice, soccer games -- but your kids grow up too fast to let your hectic routines get in the way of quality time as a family unit. "Can't" has to be omitted from your vocabulary. You CAN have dinner together, and you will be glad that you did because sometimes it can be the only time in a busy day that you get the opportunity to sneak away from the hustle bustle of life. Make dinner time special. Turn off the television. Sit at the dinner table, not on the couch. Everyone can help get ready so that mom doesn't get stuck playing the role of waitress while everyone else enjoys the meal. Have the kids set the table (never miss an opportunity to teach them some responsibility). Talk about your days. Ask your children about school. Everyone at the table could say what the best and worst parts of their day were. You will be surprised how much a simple sit-down dinner can keep you "in the know" with your kids.

GAME NIGHT

Playing games with your children gives you the opportunity to have some good old-fashioned fun with the family. It also gives your kids the opportunity to see your more playful side. Charades is a great game for family hilarity. The non-verbal clues in charades force you to be goofy, no matter how old you are. Your kids will crack up watching you act silly and childlike. Monopoly is another great family game, as long as your kids are old enough to understand the rules (usually at about 8 years old). For one, everyone will have their "lucky" player piece, such as the dog or the shoe. Also, it is a long game, and you will find that there is plenty of time to talk to each other while you play. Twister is another classic, because everyone will crack up at the tangled and contorted positions that mom and dad have to get into. A relatively new board game is Cranium, which combines charades, drawing, word puzzles, clay sculpting, and trivia. This is a great option for family game night because it has something for everyone, and it is played in teams. Having a game night gives you the chance to show your kids that you aren't always serious and "parent-like." They will see the fun and funny side of you, which will give you a closer and more well-rounded relationship overall. Plus, you are making memories together and forming traditions.

ONE-ON-ONE TIME

Your kids are individuals, so unless you have an only-child, it is important to make set aside one-on-one time with each kid. You might go to dinner with your daughter once a month, just the three off you. You could take your son to the batting cages. You could bring your history-loving child to a museum, and take the dancer-kid to a ballet. Spending time with each child will make them feel special, and it will build their confidence in themselves. Also, you should give the kids alone time with mom and dad separately. Sometimes it can be easier for a child to talk about certain things with mom that they wouldn't want to with dad, and vice versa. For example, a girl usually wants to talk to mom about boys and clothes. A boy might want to talk to dad alone about dating and sports. If you only spend time as a family unit, then you will be missing out on special bonds that can only be formed with one-on-one time.



STORIES

Sometimes children forget that their parents are human beings. If you tell your kids stories about your childhood and life experiences, then they will be able to get to know you better, and they will be able to relate to you more. Tell your kids about some of your memories from school, family vacations, etc. Tell them about your first date, your first school dance, your first summer job, etc. If you share your stories, they will feel more comfortable sharing theirs. Never pass up an opportunity to relate to your kids. Don't be afraid to tell your children about mistakes that you made. The last thing you want your kids to think is that you are and were perfect. If they think that, then they will be very intimidated about telling you about mistakes that they make. You can teach them that making mistakes is part of life, and you can also teach them to share their feelings rather than bottling them up. Good communication is key, and story-telling will build your communication.

BE A GOOD LISTENER

Sometimes parents are too quick to reprimand their children for bad choices. Instead of jumping into a lecture, always give your child the opportunity to state their case. It will help you to understand their motives, and you will be able to say something in response that addresses their rationale. This doesn't mean that they will argue their way out of a punishment; it just shows them that you respect them enough to let them speak their mind. You should be more interested in understanding your children than in punishing them. If you listen to them, then they will be more likely to listen to you. If you don't give them the opportunity to speak, then they will not listen to you when you do. All relationships are give-take, and that includes parent-child relationships. You will bond with your child and make breakthroughs if you listen to each other and respect each other.

© High Speed Ventures 2011