One of the more challenging aspects to parenting can be connecting with your child in a way that’s both meaningful and fulfilling. For all parties involved! Connecting can be anything from fleeting moments of shared enjoyment, reading a book or a day out together. Sometimes super fun, sometimes exhausting and let’s be honest, sometimes it doesn’t quite meet our expectations when our attempts are met with meltdowns or disinterest! Here are three small changes you can embed into your day to help you connect with your littlie…
Follow their lead – just because at the museum you’re interested in the dinosaurs, don’t expect your child to be. If the purpose of the outing is to have quality time together, try forgoing your own agenda and focusing on what captures your child’s interest. You’ll be less frustrated and probably get less challenging behaviours from your littlie because they’re engaged.
Don’t multitask – when you’ve dedicated time to engage with your child, forget everything else. Set a timer. Be with your child. Quality out-trumps quantity here – 5 minutes of one-on-one time together is better than an hour of divided attention. Give yourself permission to let other things go and focus on your child.
Listen to them -Throughout the day, let your child speak and let them finish what they have to say. Don’t interrupt or predict what they are going to say. They need to know they are being heard by their most important people.
Have a go! We’d love to hear how you connect with your kiddos.
Amanda Abel is a paediatric psychologist and founder of Northern Centre for Child Development – a paediatric clinic in Preston with a team of psychologists, a paediatrician, occupational therapist and speech pathologist. Check out the website for more info.