You’ve been working overtime for the past few months. You’ve spent the weekends doing the laundry, buying essentials from the grocery store, and watching your favorite late-night Netflix series. Suddenly, you realize that you’re not alone. You have kids. And if you continue with your routine, the next day you wake up, they’re not kids anymore.
Life is not in slow motion. Take advantage of every opportunity to bond with your child while you still can. Buy your boys a Spyder jacket for a perfect winter ski adventure or a new bike so that you can both enjoy the sunny days. “Kids-first” is a golden rule that every parent like you should follow. Here are some practical ways to strengthen your bond with your children:
1. Have regular family dinners
Family therapists remind parents that sitting down with their kids for a nightly meal does not just boost their brain, body, and spirit; it also magically transforms parent-child relationships. Since you stay in your office the whole day and your child spends his day in school, dinner is the only time of the day when you have the chance to talk and share stories. The small moments that you share in the table will nurture a stronger bond even after leaving the dining table. If you have a little extra time, you can cook together so that you can teach them life skills while deepening your emotional connection.
2. Go biking, take a walk, or invite them for a jog
When you exercise with your kids, you are hit multiple birds with just one stone. While it improves both your physical and mental health, it also provides an opportunity to talk and laugh with your kids. Exploring the neighborhood together while walking, biking, or jogging will promote closeness and lessen power struggles. Your kids will be comfortable to tell you stories that they are hesitant to share inside the house when your persona is restrictive and controlling.
3. Have a schedule for a monthly date with your children
A regular date in an ice cream shop or a fancy restaurant will give you the chance to know more about each other. Your children will feel that they are loved, and they will look forward to this special day every month.
4. Go on a weekend road trip
Traveling with your kids gives you more time to talk to them and show your different side. Most of the time, they see you as an authority that orders them to do their homework or organize their room. Having one-on-one time will encourage your children to see you at different light, and they will be more comfortable to share problems, emotions, and random events in their lives. When you hit the road together, you create unforgettable memories that give you a closer connection.
The quality of a child’s early experiences is predictive of his success later in life. Your priority is to give your kids a financially comfortable life, but don’t let this goal break your emotional connection. Mark your home calendar not with work deadlines but with activities that will promote a healthier family relationship.