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The Summit Counseling Center
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Gaining Connection with your Child

Janie Hortman

Mother and daughter dancing together in living roomWe are all busy, let’s face it. As adults we are working, parenting, and squeezing in “adult time”; and children are studying in school, doing activities after school, and playing with friends. With our busy schedules, we feel guilt or anxiety of continually choosing these activities over spending quality time as a family. But don’t fear, there are easy ways to add in connection time to any schedule that is fun. Research has shown increasing quality time over quantity time spent together can help decrease behavioral outbursts and anxiety or depression in your child.

The difference of quantity time vs. quality time is quantity time is just a number of time spent together and quality time being intentional no matter the time frame. Though the quantity of activities can still be fun, such as going to sporting events, movies, entertainment arenas, trips, shopping, play dates, etc, the outings are less about face to face time with parent and child talking to each other. Quality time is spent with the purpose of the focus on the child and building their confidence because they feel heard by the parent. This can have a positive effect on the parent child relationship and a decrease in behavioral concerns in the home.

What are some of these ways to add in quality time to create connection?

  1. Spend intentional time each week for 30 minutes with an activity your child picks. This activity should preferable be done in the home and allow your child to lead. During this time reflect your child’s actions and ask very few questions
  2. Set small amount of time daily to be with your child- hopefully face to face- but if this is not possible you could Facetime or write your child a note to let them know you are thinking of them
  3. Eat a meal together during the day at the table where you share with each about the day.
  4. Create a special habit between the two of you that is done daily- reading a book, saying a prayer, a special handshake, etc.
  5. Express your feelings of love towards your child in verbal words
  6. Compliment and reinforce positive behaviors when your child has done something that you want to see them do again
  7. Create as many opportunities for play and laughter as possible- this is a child’s natural language
  8. Put down technology when you are with your child. This will allow them and you to feel like you are present and model good technology behaviors

These steps can be as simple as you make them, but the affects can be a greater connection with your child and lower behaviors or emotions in your house. Also, by creating a strong parent- child connection, you will an increase in your child’s self-confidence and positive influence. Release the guilt over busy schedules, because there is always room for quality time!

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