North Davis Communities that Care – Building Connections with Our Kids


Parenting is the toughest job on the planet, and often it seems that we spend a lot of time correcting behavior after being separated all day. Children need connection just as much as adults. Research has proven that children who feel strongly connected to their parents are more likely to follow the rules and values set for them. As parents, we can try to connect with our child as much as possible so that when a moment of correcting behavior arises, it’s easier on both.

Here are six daily habits that parents can include to build a connection with their children:

  1. Play – Make time to play together, especially when you would have previously said no. If your child never asks to play with you, find time to invite them to play with you in an activity they would enjoy. Play and laughter are the most powerful tools for connection with young children.
  2. Welcome Emotion – Children need to express their emotions, whether anger, sadness, joy, or anxiety. As adults, validate their emotions instead of trying to minimize them or solve their problems.
  3. Listen with Empathy – Imagine you have tape over your mouth and let your child share what is bothering them or what they are excited about. Listening to your child’s perspective will help you see reasons for behavior and show the child you can treat them with respect.
  4. Show up – Be 100% present when you are interacting with your child. Be right there, right now, at that moment, and let everything else go. Your child will remember the moments when you were truly present.
  5. Aim for Physical Connection – A pat on the back, a fist pump, or even a hug every day goes a long way. You can build this into your morning and evening routines, and even in between. This builds a feeling of safety and connection.
  6. Turn Technology Off – More than being in the same room with your child, connection happens in the everyday moments of our lives, such as in the car drive, doing homework, and reading bedtime stories. Put down the phone and turn off the technology in the home.

Remember that you are the best parent for your child. We all need reminders and ideas on how to build connections with our children, especially in the many life transitions they will face.

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