9 Fun Ways to Connect With Your Child

Some of us have been spending A LOT of time with our kids as of late, and others might feel the opposite. Work schedules, to-do lists, and having multiple kids at home can make us feel like we aren’t really CONNECTING one-on-one. Here are 9 things you can do TODAY to help you and your kiddo get closer.

  1. SLOW DOWN. In this rat race of life, we can often feel like we have NO TIME for ANYTHING! I’m pretty sure I uttered this phrase an average of 3x per day, every day, over the last ten years. And there is truth in that – time is, of course, not endless, and we’re all just doing the best we can. But here’s the key – let’s STRETCH OUT the time that we do have. Try and carve out just 5 minutes with your child and really make it count. Do nothing but sit down and look at them and see what they do. Get your work emails and the dirty dish mountain out of your head for just 5 minutes and stop time – for them.
  2. MENTION THEIR FRIENDS’ NAMES. This is a great conversation starter! Even if you only know the name of ONE of their friends, bring it up in a positive way. Instead of saying, “Hey, Teddy! How was school?”, which will most certainly result in the ever so pleasing response of, “good.”, try saying “How fun is it that you get to be in the same class as Will? What was the best thing you guys did today?” Or, if you know Will makes Teddy laugh, ask “Hey bud – what’s one funny thing that Will said today?” It will make them feel important that you know their friends’ names and will show that you genuinely care who they spend their time with.
  3. MINI JAM SESSION. Can you think of a song that your kid enjoys? Play it and have some fun. I you’re in the car, blast it! Grab two pair of sunglasses, put them on, and act WICKED COOL while you enjoy the car ride. If you’re in their bedroom or the laundry room, have fun with it! Moving and grooving not only will make them smile, but it will pep you up as well. I can’t tell you how many mini jam sessions have turned into full-blown dance parties and there’s NOTHING BETTER!
  4. JUST THE 2 OF YOU. If I know that my other two boys are set in a game – or if they are playing without the 3rd, I seize the opportunity. I engage the one who isn’t currently occupied with a quiet, “Hey, come into the kitchen with me for a minute”. If I’m lucky enough for him to follow me, we’re golden! We’ll both sit criss-cross on the kitchen floor, or maybe I’ll put him in my lap, and we’ll just have a minute. Even if no one talks and you just rub his soft little toes, you are connecting. The important thing is, take him or her aside – close the door if you need to – and have special time. Even if it’s 2 minutes before the others burst in, at least you’ve made the effort!
  5. GET SOME SUN. I don’t know about you, but the SUN certainly brings positivity. Even if the sun isn’t technically shining, we still feel better when we get a bit of fresh air. So, if you have a minute with one kiddo, take them outside. I love sitting on my front step and just chillin’ – and they love it too. Or head into the backyard and make a quick collection – rocks, leaves, pinecones – whatever they are into. Then the two of you can plan a secret project for later, like painting the rocks or pressing the leaves.
  6. DAYDREAM. Kids LOVE creating fantasy worlds – they do it all day long when playing. Why not join them? Start with something fun like, “Hey Benny, can you imagine if, instead of flowers, colorful marshmallows grew everywhere?” They will be excited to engage in this way with you. Be free and have fun! Nothing is off limits. My kids love to talk about “Backwards World”, their imaginary place where the grass grows where the sky should be and everything it out of whack. It is a super conversation that could go in any direction! Let your mind be free enough to think like them and have some fun.
  7. HANDSHAKES. You remember when handshakes were SO COOL and you were desperate to perfect them!? Do this with your little dude or lady. Make up your very own, secret handshake that is easy enough for them to master. Or, teach them one from your childhood. When my son Frankie needs a #connectmoment with me, I take him aside and just start doing Miss Mary Mack with him. It centers him and we actually LOOK at each other for 30 measly seconds and we are better off for it. Handshakes are the absolute best way for a quick connect and a, “hey, I love our relationship” moment.
  8. CARRY THEM. Physical touch is SO important when connecting with your little. Shouting things like “have a great day!” or “great job!” give us the satisfaction of having said what we think we need to say, but a lot of kids need to FEEL things as well. Even as our kiddos get bigger (and heavier!), if physically possible for you, pick them up for a quick second. Give them a special piggy-back ride around the house, or carry them to the bathroom at night to brush their teeth. They watch us hold things all day long – our purse, phone, perhaps their younger siblings – and they might subconsciously yearn for that feeling. If you can’t totally pick them up, try letting them walk on top of your feet while holding your hands or move through the house as if you are attached at the hip. Same effectiveness, same FUN!
  9. LISTEN. If you’re anything like me, you LOVE to talk, explain, describe, teach, and dictate things. All day every day. But what if we just stopped for a second and listened. If your kid is playing alone and you want to savor this moment with them, sit down next to them and take a look at what they’re doing. Immerse yourself in their world, without talking. Try to think of how amazing they are that they created this fabulous imaginary world and be in awe of how smart they are. Your warmth and positive vibe might invite them to talk to you. Then just let them go on and on about how the dinosaur is fighting the shark but they are in lava which has bubbles so they can breathe but a tornado is coming so they might get sucked up….. you get the idea. Just sit and listen. In the end, you’ve shown that you care and gotten in on the fun.

Thanks for joining me on my 9 ways to connect with your child. Don’t feel pressured to do all of these in a day, week, or even a month! When you see an opportunity, go for it! Catch the fun with your child – you’ll be glad you did!

6 thoughts on “9 Fun Ways to Connect With Your Child”

  1. It sounds like taking the opportunity to connect in their world, which is very important to them. I like that and will continually watch for those moments.

      1. Nancy,
        I so admire your creativity, energy, and pure LOVE!
        Your family and friends will never forget the precious moments shared so generously with them. Finding moments of fun, laughter, and togetherness in everyday situations is the secret to a joy-filled, meaningful, and grateful life.

        God love you,
        Diane Gualtieri

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