Kids are the best! They know how to embrace life and find happiness in the little things. They love fiercely and can be quite resilient. But to really touch their hearts, it is important to lean in and get close to them. One of the best ways to do this is to learn how to emotionally connect with your child and gain their trust. As a mom, I have found that kids are super responsive to our efforts and thrive when we offer this connection to them. Here my favorite ways draw my child’s heart close: 1. Play With Them
Kids get a really big kick out of it when an adult takes the time to set aside their grown-up stuff and enter into a world of make-believe, fun, and games! Let them bring out the toys, games, and puzzles and just focus on what your child’s imagination brings to the table! When I share time playing dolls with my little girls, I know that their hearts are so happy!
2. Read Together
Kids love the quietness and closeness of story time. There is nothing quite as special as snuggling while reading bedtime stories or listening as your child reads a book to you. These moments are great opportunities to bond with your child and give them great childhood memories.
3. Get Down on their Level
When you want to truly connect with your child, make a point to not stand over them. Rather, kneel or sit down and get face-to-face with them. This puts you both on even ground and let’s them know that you aren’t above them. This makes them feel important and valued. Look into their eyes and talk as equals with them.
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4. Make Them Feel Safe
Kids are vulnerable. They are (generally) smaller than adults and rely on us for everything. This puts them in a unique position. Let them know that they can always count on you for their emotional and physical needs. If they feel scared, hold and comfort them. If they do something they feel bad about, tell them that you are there for them every step of the way and that you will help them.
5. Cry With Them and Hold Space for Them
If your child is upset or in melt-down mode, don’t admonish them. Sometimes things that might seem quite small to us can feel really big to a kid. Give them time and space to process any emotions that they have and assure them that it’s okay to go through a rough patch. It’s even okay to cry with your child if they are sad. Children feel validated when their parents allow them the freedom to have big feelings. If they need to talk about whatever is troubling them, lend them your ear. Listening to them and holding space can work wonders on a child’s psyche.
6. Give Them Attention
When you think of how to emotionally connect with your child, this is probably one of the most obvious ways to do so. But that doesn’t mean it is always the easiest. As parents, we know the struggle is real to pause from our tasks and fully turn our attention to our child. We may want to do this theoretically, but we must actually do it in order to gain the benefits. Kids know when you are giving them undivided attention because they are watching for it!
7. Show Them You are in Their Corner
When the going gets tough, kids need their parents to be their biggest cheerleaders! You will definitely help them to draw close to you if they know without a doubt that you have their back. If anyone is unkind to them, use this opportunity to remind them that they count. This will give them tremendous courage and encouragement.
8. Don’t Hesitate to Say I’m Sorry
According to research that was reported by the Washington Post, apologizing to your child is a positive thing. When we admit our failures and acknowledge our shortcomings, we are showing them that we aren’t perfect and we know it. This can go a long way to building back any trust that we may have lost when we have hurt our child’s heart. Kids are so quick to forgive!
9. Find Ways to Bond
There are so many ways to find special moments to share with our children! Everything from taking them on a special date or simply sharing a funny joke, we need to look for opportunities to create memories over shared experiences. Whether you start a little daily ritual or do something spontaneous together, bonding helps your hearts to grow closer together.
10. Show Tenderness
Kids respond best when adults treat them with kindness. They take note of how someone makes them feel. When we speak gently to our children, we are modeling kindness. As we do this, their hearts turn toward us and they feel emotionally connected to us. This is one of the easiest things we can do and can be applied daily. As you ponder doing any or all of these suggestions, keep in mind that...
An excerpt from a research paper by the National Scientific Council at Harvard University reads “Emotional development is actually built into the architecture of young children’s brains in response to their individual personal experiences and the influences of the environments in which they live. I hope that you have picked up some new ideas on how to emotionally connect with your child! Look for opportunities like this often and keep those babies close to your heart! They will love you for it!