Because we are so immersed in our children’s lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day functions of life and miss out on meaningful opportunities to connect with them. So, where do you begin? If you feel like your relationships with your children are starting to fade, or you just want to be more intentional about building trust and understanding, here are five things you can do every day to help build their trust and strengthen your relationship with them
1. Learn about, care for, and involve yourself in their hobbies/interests
When someone cares about the things we care about, it feels good. Many times, children may be embarrassed or scared to share their passions and interests because they worry people might think it’s “dumb” or “weird” and showing your interest allows them to open up more to you.
Crosswinds Tip: Find a way to make your child’s hobby personal to you. If they like playing with toy cars, buy one in your favorite color and always use it when playing cars with them. Find ways to be genuine with your interest in their hobbies.
2. Look for and seek opportunities to show your children how to care/give
Serving others is proven to be more beneficial than any other activity for well-being. When you serve with your child, you not only teach them how to connect intentionally with others, but you also create a meaningful opportunity to bond over something with your child.
Crosswinds Tip: Try taking your children with you when you run to get a coffee for a loved one, stop by to help a grandparent or take a candy bar to someone to brighten their day. Doing so will help your children connect with you more, and help them identify opportunities to show how much they care for you.
3. Let them know you think about them when you don’t have to
It’s important to let people you love know you’re thinking of them. Taking the time to show up for them out of the blue will brighten their day, build trust, and show that you always have their back. This is especially important if your child seems to be struggling with something. If they are, be sure to check-in and ask if they are doing well, either with something specific or just in general.
Crosswinds Tip: When you pack their lunch, add a small note or candy to let them know you are thinking of them, even when they’re not around.
4. Speak positively about them when they’re not around
This may seem difficult, but it could change your relationship with your child forever. Speaking positively about anyone helps prevent additional conflicts and disconnect in your relationship. When we speak positively about our children, it allows us to brag about them and notice positive things we may not have noticed before. It’s a good practice to notice good qualities in those we care about. You can never go wrong speaking kindly about the people you love.
Crosswinds Tip: While it’s sometimes necessary to vent your frustrations about parenting, be intentional to verbalize the great achievements that your child is making. Go out of your way to speak compassionately about your children and brag about their accomplishments.
5. Spend quality time together
If you feel like you and your children’s relationship could use a little improvement, try spending 15 minutes of uninterrupted time together. Spend some time with just each other. This is a great opportunity for you to show your children that they have a safe space where you are available for them when they need you.
Crosswinds Tip: This doesn’t need to be some big elaborate thing you plan for your child. It can be as simple as taking a drive with your teen for a cup of coffee, grabbing a donut together, reading a book, playing video games together, or watching a movie. It doesn’t take hours, but it does take some intentional, dedicated time each day.
No matter how you show it, it’s important your children know that you care about them. Doing these things will help you build trust, bond, and grow with each other.
If you don’t know where to begin or are personally struggling to connect with your children, we can help. You and your family can benefit from counseling. Visit crosswindscounseling.org or call 877-594-9204 to get matched with a therapist today. Crosswinds counselors have helped thousands of parents learn skills to connect better with their children—we can help you too. We can get you and your family back on the path to a healthy life!