Did you ever think that the relationship with your children will require so much attention, nurturing, time and effort before you had them? The problem is that there is no single recipe or a book that gives you all the answers of how to talk to them, how to empower them and how to build strong relationships with your children. And that is not an easy task, considering how exposed we all are to all kinds of information and influences. Just like in marriage, LOVE is not enough to guarantee a healthy long lasting bond between parents and children. What I’ve learned about relationships from my marriage, and from being a daughter as well, is that relationships require a lot more elements than just love: trust, mutual respect, empathy and intentional listening. May be more, would argue the relationship experts, but the rest would be details.
We see all the time examples of lost connection between parents and children, so what can we do to “rebuild this relationship” or simply strengthen it?
Researchers remind us that we need five positive interactions to every negative interaction to keep any relationship healthy. And since we spend so much time guiding — aka correcting, reminding, scolding, criticizing, nagging, and yelling — it’s important to make sure we spend five times as much time in positive connection.
But we’re only human. There are days when all we can do is meet our children’s most basic needs. Some days it’s nothing short of heroic simply to feed them, bathe them, keep an encouraging tone, and get them to sleep at a reasonable hour — so we can do it all over again tomorrow!
So I asked Dr. Brandi Eijsermans, psychologist and founder of Optimal Wellness Global, whose interview will follow on the blog within the next few weeks, how I can strengthen and improve the relationships with my children! What she told me is that I don’t need to constantly worry about being present and in touch with my kids 24/7. Instead she suggested to introduce pockets of mindfulness and habits of connection within every day and week.
What immediately came to my mind at that moment were several rituals we already have established in our family, such as playing and singing loud together in the car, telling each other stories from the day at the dinner table, playing together Connect Four or Snakes and Ladders, and of course the Sunday morning cuddles. We have rituals as a family, but my husband has his own rituals with the kids and I have my own too.
Dr. Brandi Eijsermans also encouraged me not to overthink these rituals, we can stick to simple things that bring us joy but also peace and in that way nurture the parent-child relationship. And one more thing that you and I may be forgetting, but I am sure most of us are doing, is reading bedtime stories to our kids! This is one of the best ways you can immediately connect with your kids, helping them wind down and sneaking in a few positive lessons and morals.
I would love if you can share with me what other rituals you are already using in your daily life to stay connected with your child? Share in the comments or send me an email!
In the meantime here are some great recommendations and ideas for modern children books we received from the Sleep Advisor.
Best Bedtime stories to empower your kids
For parents of young girls (and boys) who want show their kids strong, positive female role models, there are thankfully more and more books out there every day. Sleep Advisor compiled this list of bedtime stories perfect for tucking your daughter or niece in for the night, and encouraging all her wildest dreams.
For the steadfast princess lovers, they’ve included books like “The Princess Knight”, to let your daughter know that princesses can save themselves. Even princesses can decide their own fate!
For a lesson in history, there are also several books on important real-life women. “Amelia to Zora” is a great collection of stories to show her women can and do make a difference.
And to help your daughter grow up with a positive self-image, try stories like “I Like Me Myself!”
Full list of recommended children books on the Sleep Advisor.