Children don’t come with manuals. Learning to be a good parent is a never ending process. Though it is one of the hardest (and yet most rewarding), it is a skill that we have learn on the job. Here are some tried and tested bonding activities that can increase the bond between you and your child. The bond between a parent and child will have a lasting effect on the child well into his / her adulthood.
1. A hug and a kiss
Never underestimate the power of a hug and a kiss. A silent hug when he is throwing the most aggravating tantrum is more effective than threats and ultimatums. Have you noticed how mommies can kiss away the pain caused by boo boos? Hugs and kisses provide a blanket of security and kids who are handled with gentleness are well behaved too.
2. Verbal bonding
Make greeting one another a regular habit at home. Some one I know used to kiss all her children, their spouses and their children good night everyday. The family always retires for the day with warm fuzzies. She greets them with a cheerful ‘good morning’ first thing in the morning. Create family routines that tell your kids that they are loved no matter what. My mother-in-law will always come to the gate if her children are leaving home. As teens, even when her children were storming out of the house angrily, they knew that she was at the gate looking.
3. Uninterrupted 15 minutes
Spend at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time with each child each day. Turn off those gadgets. Make those 15 minutes a special moment for just the two of you. Find a calm spot where you can talk about the day uninterrupted. It can be a spot in your balcony / garden. When faced with tough situations, they will be willing to open up to you only if they know that you care enough to listen.
Ask “What do you want to do?”. If you look closely at a child’s day, he / she is always told what they should do / think / say. They are rarely asked what they think about something or what we should do about something. Give it a try and you will find out how smart and innovative your child is.
4. Get creative
Create something with your child and see them swell with pride. There can be no better bonding time than this.
5. Read with your child
This is the easiest bonding activity and the most productive one too.
6. Get out of the house
Fond memories are not created by being cooped up inside the house watching TV or playing video games. Get out and take a walk. Talk about the trees and the point to the different colors you see around. Look for bird nests and talk about birds. Talk about everything under the sun. Take a bus ride or cycle to the nearby mall. Just move it. You will be teaching your children to be physically active too.
7. Nothing like a good hair massage
When ever my kid is tired or angry or even frustrated with her homework :mrgreen: , I have noticed that a gentle 2 minute hair massage calms her down faster than a long speech listing the importance of finishing homework on time. A 3 minute back rub can do wonders too. Who said kids don’t need a back rub. Have you tried carrying their school bags? All it takes is 3 minutes to tell the most precious people in our life that we are there right near them.
8. Cook with them
There is an added advantage when you cook with kids. It is the perfect opportunity to talk about healthy food choices.
9. One parenting tip from Las Vegas
Las Vegas, modern day Sodom and Gomorrah can also teach us one important parenting tip – lose the clock. Casinos won’t have clocks because they want to allow their guest to have fun without worrying about the time. Some times it is okay to not plan every minute of every day. Stop looking at the clock and focus on the fun.
10. Plan a fun night – Create memories
Memories are not captured in a camera. They are captured in our hearts. One of my favorite movies is the 1966 British classic born free. I have always loved this movie ever since I was a little girl. Last week we curled on the sofa watching this timeless classic and I remembered the numerous times I have watched this before I became a parent. My daughter was listening with wide open eyes when I said, this movie will definitely find itself in mommy’s top ten movies. Her all time favorite is Snow dogs and we have watched it a gazillion times. Have a movie date night once a week and your children will cherish these memories for years to come.