Building positive parent-child relationships

As parents, we are our child’s first teachers. Our reactions help young children learn what is good and what is bad, what makes us happy and what makes us sad. Babies and young children base much of their early emotional development on how their primary caregivers deal with everyday events, even registering many of our most subtle or seemly insignificant responses. That’s why it’s super-important for us to make those early impressions count.

It goes without saying that spending plenty of quality time with your little one will allow you to bond as parent and child, and to foster a caring and loving environment.

All families are unique and there is no one-size-fits-all method for maintaining a perfectly balanced relationship with your child, but there are certainly lots of ways to make positive use of your precious time together.

Enjoy all the wonder-filled little moments you can together…

This doesn’t mean you have to orchestrate lots of ‘precious moments’modelled on cheesy stock photographs. Simply showing a genuine interest in whatever your child may be doing or talking about will initiate more natural communication and trust between you and your child. Quality time can happen anywhere, even while you’re folding the laundry or taking a bath.

Tips & tricks for building positive bonds

  • Do not judge your child’s methods when learning and playing, no matter how silly or far-fetched they may seem, children learn a lot through nonsense scenarios.
  • Try to take an interest in your child’s choices. Let them explain why they would like to colour the sky brown, rather than telling them it should be blue.
  • Try to listen, even if some stories are completely make-believe they may still give you valuable insight into your child’s mood, emotions or concerns.
  • Sometimes let your child take the initiative. Allow them to suggest a game or activity and allow them to use trial and error, within reason.
  • Allow your child to have their own opinions, and allow them to feel that they can freely discuss their thoughts and feelings with you.
  • Enjoy positive emotions together as often as possible. Laugh, smile, tell silly jokes, cuddle, dance, sing and be silly.
  • Support your child in their interests as they grow older. You may not like rugby, but your child may decide they are a big fan.
  • Set family rules so that everyone’s views are respected and boundaries are clear and consistent, as this will prevent tantrums and negative feelings, ultimately.

When your child knows that you share not just love, but also a mutual respect for one another, they will naturally grow to trust you as a friend and confidant, which will go a long way to creating a healthy and long-lasting relationship throughout their childhood and into their older years.

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