It’s right around the corner: that special day once a year when we celebrate moms. And if you’re scrambling for some last-minute gift ideas, or just holding out hope that your husband actually remembers this year, consider this: Perhaps the best gift you’ll receive this year isn’t going to come in a package, and it may just come from the person you least expect—yourself.
Flowers, cards, and breakfast in bed are great, but at the end of the day, what mothers really want is to feel a real, deep, and lasting emotional bond with their kids. They want the great relationship every single (ordinary) day, not the big show of affection that comes around only once a year.
While the concept of having a deep, emotional connection may seem like a daunting task, it’s not only possible for moms to make that crucial connection with their kids, it’s actually not as complicated as you may think. There are simple changes that any parent can make that will work wonders for creating the bond with her child that she desires. And once those small changes become habits, they will come naturally to her, all the time.
There are seven simple ways that you can work toward building a deep, emotional bond with your kids, so that every day can feel like Mother’s Day. From playtime to down time, read on for how YOU can get connected right now:
Make time for playtime. One of the best ways that parents can connect with their children is through play. Not only does play release energy and provide opportunities to be involved in a child’s world, it is also how children process their inner feelings and work out their little-kid real-life issues. Parents who take the time to play with their children strengthen their understanding of their children’s emotional world. And while you may feel like you are being present for playtime while your toddler plays at your feet (and you do the dishes), in order to make a real and lasting connection, you have to (literally) get down on his level.
True emotional connections are made when parents get down on the floor and play with their kids. Drink imaginary tea, build the Lego castle, and piece together those puzzles. Your bond with your child will be all the better for it.
Plug in…emotionally. Children can experience a wide range of emotions each day (or even each hour, for that matter!), from happy to sad, frustrated to triumphant—what may seem to us a trivial moment can be a big deal for them. Parents have to make the effort to “plug in” to what their children are feeling. Understanding what they are feeling and why can create a bond between you that is unparalleled.
Plugging in to the emotions that your child is experiencing and being present with her through each new feeling can help the two of you to deepen your emotional bond with one another. It takes patience, time, and at times, a lot of effort, but the bond you build is totally worth it.
Build in a few extra minutes to your day. Whether you are rushing out the door for school in the morning, loading up for big brother’s baseball practice, or just heading out to run errands with kids in tow, building in a few minutes can make transitions much less painful for both you and your children and can provide crucial opportunities for bonding.
If you can make it into the car without a screaming fight, then you have a great opportunity to spend those extra 10 or 15 minutes really talking with your kids. Dissect their days, talk through any emotions or feelings they may be experiencing—like the way they felt when they accomplished something super fun at preschool, or if they are sad because their goldfish died. Or use the time as an opportunity to turn up some tunes and sing out loud together—letting go and being silly with your kids is a great way to bond emotionally.
Fess up when you slip up. Nobody’s perfect—and as parents it’s a given that we will make mistakes as we learn and grow alongside of our kids. It’s important to remember that in addition to teaching our children, we are also serving as their constant role models. By labeling and talking about emotions, she says, your child learns that emotions are manageable, and he will feel comfortable expressing them in an appropriate manner. And that includes admitting when you’re wrong and saying that you’re sorry.
When ‘fessing up,’ be specific, identify the behaviors for which you are apologizing, and share the feelings you were experiencing at the time and how you felt afterwards. Your mistakes and shortcomings can serve as a wonderful opportunity for you to be a good role model. Fessing up means that you genuinely apologize to your child for making a mistake—the goal is to catch yourself and repair the connection with your child. And in the end, you’ll teach him the valuable lesson that it’s all right not to be perfect. Read More