To connect with your children is so important as they navigate through the world around them. Kids need to feel safe and secure and know they always have someone rooting for them. Bonding with your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking a day here and there to disconnect from the daily routine and recharge together or even just a few intentional moments throughout a busy week can create a long-lasting impact.
Think about what your child is interested in – the things they could talk about all day. Imagine how fun it will be to have Dad sharing in those interests. It could be as simple as stopping to watch the bulldozer at the construction site you were driving by. Maybe you get down on the floor and build together or head outside to play catch. If you’ve got a little soccer player on your hands, just being at their games and cheering them on show you care. Letting your child know that what’s important to them is important to you is a great first step to bonding.
Now that you’ve thought about what your child is interested in, invite them to connect and learn about your interests. If you love fishing, bring the kids and teach them how to cast a line. If baseball’s your thing, go to a game together. Maybe you love to cook – pull a stool up to the counter for your little helper. Involving the kids in your interests is another great way to connect.
You can plan a special event for you and the kids and you don’t even have to leave the house. Declare a movie or game night and have some fun foods to go along with it. Pretend you’re camping and make a fort in the living room or put the tent up in the backyard. S’mores around the fire – or in the microwave – add to the fun! Have an arts and crafts afternoon and do all those messy activities like painting and slime-making.
If you’re looking for something bigger, plan a day trip that you know the kids will love. The zoo, aquarium, museum, theme park… the possibilities to connect are endless! If you’re looking for something local, pack a picnic and head to a playground or splash pad. Days like this are the ones kids will remember for a long time.
One of the best ways to strengthen your relationship with your children is to listen when they speak. Turn off the T.V., put down your phone, and clear your mind of your to-do list. You want your kids to know that what they have to say is important and that other things can wait. As they grow up, having kids that will open up to you and come to you when they’re struggling or when they need advice is invaluable. Set the stage now, while they’re little, so they know their voice is important and that Dad is always there for them.
Brought to you by: NOGGINSLAND
Written by: Erin Agnello
Edited & Designed by: Jamie Schmalenberger
Photos by: Jcomp, Prostooleh / Freepik
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.