We all crave those close moments with our kids that make our hearts melt. Images of happy families are not in short supply. We certainly all have ideas about what they should look like …

However, parenting is the toughest job on earth and we often do it in our spare time – after work, right? For most of us it’s go, go, go all the time. And, of course, some days it’s nothing short of heroic simply to feed them and to keep an encouraging tone – so we can do it all over tomorrow!

Our goal as parents is to raise happy well-adjusted children but as life happens, how is a strong bond even possible? Truth is, sometimes we get so caught up in raising “successful” kids that we overlook the importance of interacting personally with each child.

Researchers remind us that we need five positive interactions to every negative interaction to keep any relationship healthy. And, since we spend so much time guiding – a.k.a. correcting, reminding, criticizing, nagging, and yelling – it’s important to prioritize personal positive connections. The aim is to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company.

So mom and dad, schedule one-on-one time. Spend at least 15 minutes of quality time every day, with each child, separately.

Aim for 12 hugs (or physical connections) every day. Hug when you say goodbye when you’re re-united, and often in between. Tousle hair, pat backs, and rub shoulders. Make eye contact and smile, which is a different kind of touch. If your tween or teen rebuffs your advances, realize that with older kids you have to ease into the connection.

Make the most of every opportunity. Pour your love into her while you follow her lead. Resist the urge to make every opportunity a teaching moment. Listen and empathize. Treat her with respect and regulate your emotions when your buttons get pushed. Bite your tongue if you need to, except to say “Wow! ...” “I see …”  “Really? …” “How was that for you? …”

Show up. Go to every match and concert. That’s where you need to be.

Put laughter on your to-do list. Loosen up about chores. If your teenage son always forgets to clean the bathroom sink. Write a reminder with shaving foam on the mirror!

Create rituals of togetherness. Rally around the table and eat together at least once a week. Or take her out to lunch or grab something on the go and have one-on-one time in the backyard or even in her bedroom. Also, compassionate safe moments before bedtime will invite your child to talk about whatever she is grappling with; whether it’s something that happened in school, the way you snapped at her this morning, or worries about a test.

Accept your child’s temperament, whether she’s easy-going or challenging, and make sure that she knows that. Be specific and sincere about compliments. Be sure to recognise good things and let her know that you are proud of her and that you love her. Aim to make her feel accepted, appreciated, listened to and most of all loved. Give her confidence by letting her know that you believe in her, value her, and enjoy her.

All our kids really want is our time. There’s no one-size-fits-all on how to be a stellar parent, and if your actions are motivated by love, you can’t be too far off base.

May your family be a happy one.  

Source: crosswalk.com, bhg.com, webmd.com, time.com, parenting.com, betterrelationships.org.au, parents.com, whytoyz.com, citygirlgonemom.com, yourtango.com, psychologytoday.com, health.com, nourishinteractive.com, dailymail.co.uk, talentedladiesclub.com, everydayhealth.com, thefamilydinnerproject.org, childdevelopment.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.