Retired principal Mrs Jenny Yeo shares some parent-child bonding tips.
Children turn to their parents for guidance only if they have their parents’ unconditional love. To build this environment of security and trust, parents need to build strong bonds with their children. Only then will the children have confidence to turn to their parents when they encounter adversity in life.
To quote Brenda Nixon: “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”
One parent, Mr Rich Ho, believes in being involved in his child’s life and involving the child in his life. For example, he takes time to write letters to his child using creative means, such as through cartoons! Incidentally, apart from developing their creativity, cartoons can also encourage children to think, retain information and express themselves.
Rich also shows his love by speaking the love language of his child. According to Dr Gary Chapman, the five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch. Using a child’s dominant love language is the most effective way for the child to feel loved.
Another parent, Carol sees her bond with her children as a long term, consistent and conscious effort that involves understanding them and responding to their needs. For example, she would participate in activities they enjoy, such as cycling and playing board games like Scrabble, which often, her nine year old would win! As she spends time with them, Carol connects with her children. Even a seemingly common outing like shopping for clothes could be an opportunity to discuss family values, such as suitable clothing styles for a teenager.
If you have more than one child, make it a point to spend time with them individually. Every child is different and they want to be recognised as individuals. Making sure each child gets your undivided attention from time to time will strengthen the bonds. Even a short trip to the grocery store can be special for the child if he gets you all to himself.
Children naturally crave attention from their parents and sometimes, they will do anything to get it. Some misbehave just to get their parents to look at them. If parents fail to notice and address this cry for attention, their child may grow up looking for attention in the wrong places.
So if you want to be the influencer and ‘the significant other’ in your children’s lives as they grow up, it is essential to work on that bond and keep the communication lines open!
The school holidays present opportunities to spend some quality time with your children. For a change, how about letting them choose what they want to do? A mother who did this was initially uncomfortable when her child chose to go to a trampoline park. But she followed through, even joining her child on the trampoline! She had so much fun with her child that they both wanted to do it again.
Alternatively, choose a theme that your child is interested in and organise a series of activities linked to it. For example, if a child loves sea creatures, spend a weekend visiting the aquarium and learn about sea creatures together. After the outing, work together to record your fond memories in a scrapbook or create a story out of it.
No matter how busy we are, it is important that we prioritise and make special efforts to spend quality time with our children. Whatever the activity, it is about building beautiful memories and strengthening the bond with your child! How will you be spending the school holidays with your child? Share with us in the comment box below!