One of the scariest things that can happen to a parent is realizing that they simply do not know their child at all. Being forced to realize, as a result of some word or action on their part, that your sweet baby or mischievous child has changed right under your eyes into someone else entirely can be chilling, especially if you don’t know how to reach them again. Worst of all, it can happen with shocking ease.
Everyone knows how easy it is to simply drift apart from someone they love because it has happened to all of us. As a parent, however, you cannot afford to allow something like that to happen, no matter how easy it might be. How to stop it though? The answer could be as simple as asking your child how their day was—and really listening to their responses.
The key to knowing your child, to strengthening your relationship is relatively simple. All you truly need to do is to spend quality time together. When you invest in one on one time or family time, no distractions, you are giving yourself and your child an enormously important gift.
Quality time spent together, spent focusing on each other, is time that you spend developing the common ground that supports your relationship. It is time invested in knowing each other as well as loving each other and it is time invested in building the foundation of a strong relationship. The earlier you begin to make these investments, the stronger your relationship with your child will be and the more capable it will be of weathering future storms.
The idea of spending time with your child in order to improve your relationship sounds great on paper, but what exactly does it mean. What constitutes quality time, or an investment in the relationship? It can be as simple as making time to talk to your child on a daily basis, asking them how their day went, for instance. Provided you choose your moment and work to engage with their answers this can start a real conversation, one that will give you insight into their daily landscape and encourage your child to feel that you are truly interested in their life.
You will find yourself laying a foundation of respect and interest that teaches your child that talking to you is enjoyable and rewarding. Over time you will establish yourself as someone they can talk to and bring questions to without being afraid of punishment or dismissal.
One simple conversation is only the beginning. From there you may find yourself planning regular family meals and activities. A proper dinner together several nights a week will give the whole family a chance to spend meaningful time with each other on a regular basis. Not only will this encourage conversation and improved relationships, but studies show it will also have a positive effect on diet, nutrition, and even grade performance.
Other opportunities for family time include time spend playing games, indoor and out, performing a goal or achieving a task, and even going on trips or outings. The seeds of quality family time are easy to sow and, if you are prepared to tend them properly, rewarding to harvest.