It’s not easy being a parent. Far too often it’s a thankless job where no matter how much work you put in, you will feel underappreciated for your efforts. But there are many, many extremely rewarding aspects of the role, as well. The relationship you form with your children in the early years can vastly impact the bond you will share later in life.
Whether that relationship is currently contentious or smooth sailing, there are various ways to promote feelings of goodwill and strengthen the unconditional love that exists between you and your children. Read on for three healthy ways to deepen the parent/child connection and spend quality time with your kids.
Go for a walk
It might sound simple, but walking has numerous benefits. First, you both get some exercise, which is good for the body and the mind. Second, we all spend so much time indoors these days that it’s nice to get some fresh air. Finally, going for a walk with your child is a low-pressure way to engage in conversation and hear what’s going on in his or her life. Asking questions over dinner might yield short answers, but going for a leisurely stroll (which naturally includes little direct eye contact) can encourage your child to open up and discuss any issues.
Take a cooking class
Cooking is a soothing activity for many people, but for others it’s the cause of serious anxiety. Home cooked meals are an easy way to avoid eating unhealthy restaurant food and to help the family stick to a budget. Sign up for a cooking class with your adolescent and bond over lumpy mashed potatoes and other kitchen disasters. It’s nice to share an out-of-the-ordinary experience with your children, and break out of the daily routine.
Start a monthly book club
When your kids hit middle or upper school, their lives become extremely busy. They might want nothing to do with their parents, but there are still ways for you to be involved in their lives. Start a “book club” where you tackle the same book they are reading for a class and sit down together once a month to discuss – just the two of you. It’s a great way for you to connect with your child, keep your brain sharp, and discuss some of life’s big questions through the guise of literature.
There are, of course, numerous ways to bond with your children but you can shake things up with these healthy and enjoyable parenting techniques.