Sometimes we build up a huge mountain in our minds about what our kids need. But when it comes down to it, the foundation is connection – the simple combination of acceptance and presence. Your kids really need you.
I know! There’s only so much YOU to go around right? The cool thing I’ve discovered is that honestly, just 10 minutes makes a huge difference. You can focus for 10 minutes. You can listen to your child talk, play Legos or Uno for 10 minutes. And that focused time REALLY helps fill their cup, making everything else easier.
What’s even better is that often, you can find things that nurture both of you. I came up with a list of ways to connect that may appeal to you both. I say may as, of course, these are what works for me. Your list might be different. Download our free printable to fill out with your own ways to connect!
10 Easy Bonding Activities for Parents and Child:
- Putting lotion on each other’s hands
- Coloring or drawing together
- Reading next to each other or reading a book aloud
- Watching a show together that you both like
- Looking up music videos together for songs you both like.
- Looking at family photos together
- Taking a walk
- Ask for company while you do a low-stress chore
- Listen to an audiobook together
- Sing together in the car
Examples of everyday connection rituals in our family:
- Giving the kids a hug and a smile when they wake up in the morning.
- Waving enthusiastically from the driveway when someone leaves.
- Silly sayings like “Home again home again jiggity jig.” when we’re on our way home
- At dinner time we ask, “What was your favorite part of the day?”
- Watching our favorite show all together on the couch
- On birthdays, having dutch baby and bacon for breakfast, and hanging up a birthday banner.
- On winter evenings putting lavender in our wood stove steamer.
- When someone is sick offering them a bath, tea and a snuggle spot on the couch.
- Having good night rituals for each of the kids. One of our sons likes having his back scratched and a kiss on the cheek, the other prefers a quick hug, and our daughter often likes rough-housing “upside down snuggles” from my husband, yet wants to be tucked in and kissed on each cheek from me.
In short, rituals help us gain the habit of being connected and present with the most important people in our lives. They are the simple sounds, scents, and experiences that make up the unique feeling of home in your family. Looking at the way your day already flows gives you a chance to intentionally add a few more connection rituals to your ordinary routines.
More Ways to Connect with Kids:
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.