5 steps to build a healthy relationship with your kids

Building healthy relationships with your kids is important but how much time do you need to spend together to build these strong connections?

The relationships we develop at home can often help to set the tone for healthy lifelong development. Children are like little sponges; they tend to soak everything up from those around them. And in the early years, parents are usually the primary focus of a child’s attention. 

Building healthy relationships is something that families can help to foster from an early age, and in doing so, help children to learn valuable skills that support their emotional, social and academic development. 

Kids don’t care about elaborate events and fancy presents. To help build healthy relationships with your kids, quite often one of the most important things is just spending time together.  

The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to spend every moment together to build healthy relationships with your kids. Parents are often left guilt-ridden and stressed thinking they need to cut everything to spend more time with the kids. And while it’s fantastic spending that time as a family, it doesn’t need to be done in big chunks. A simple 10 minutes here and there can still help you build a solid connection with your kids and benefit everyone in your family.

Try these ‘quick five’ tips to help you building healthy relationships with your  kids:

1. Get down on their level

It can be hard at times, when it feels like there are a million things to do and you’re also trying to check in with the kids too. Often it’s easier to just call out to them from another room or blurt things out without looking up. But a good tip is to stop and get down to their eye level, so that they’re making eye contact with you. They can see that you’re taking the time for them, you’re showing them you are invested, and they in turn have the chance to focus on you too. Plus, it cuts out any opportunity for the kids to say “but I didn’t hear you!”. Bonus win for the parents!

2. Reflect what they’re feeling 

Kids just want to be heard. They want to know that you’re listening and that you can see how they might be feeling, even if you don’t entirely understand. If your child is stomping around the place, try saying “I can see how frustrated you are” this can let them know that you understand and hear them; you can see what’s going on with them, and you’re also helping them to understand their emotions better. 
Mother and son

3. Consistent boundaries

Though they may protest, kids need boundaries and consistency. It helps them thrive. By sticking to your guns, and having that predictability in the home, it can help enhance a child’s sense of security and trust in the world around them. This security can translate to healthy relationship development, where kids know where they stand.

4. ‘Top three’ 

While family life can be busy, and there are a lot of troubles that can arise, one great way to help build healthy relationships, develop solid communication skills and learn the importance of balancing things out, is to do a daily ‘top three’. 

Everyone in the family briefly lists their three most memorable moments of the day and they share them with one another. It can be a quick and simple way to connect with one another, share the moment, express feelings and practise good communication, resilience and problem solving. A brief ‘top three’ can help kids develop that sense of trust through that shared conversation and will hopefully they’ll be more willing to come to you if any issues arise. 

5. Be in the moment

It can be that simple. You don’t need elaborate family time itineraries, or a whole day set aside, just being in the moment, and giving that moment your attention. It could be eating a meal with your kids, or playing in the backyard; or even those spontaneous chats that arise as you’re putting the washing away. It’s the small things that make memorable moments.  

These are things you probably do each and every day without even realising. And that’s the amazing part of family time - we can create strong memories and help tackle the tough moments just through quick, simple interactions. 

Make little moments matter

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