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When your children are newborns, they are completely dependent on you. They need you to feed them, clothe them, bathe them, and of course, love them. As they get older, they will become less dependent on your time and can start to look after themselves. They develop their own hobbies and personalities, and they make their own friends who they start to prioritize.
For many parents, this is a bittersweet process. You want your children to grow up and be happy. Cutting that cord is an important step, and it ensures that they will become more independent and more likely to be successful adults. You also have more time to yourself as your children need you less.
However, it can still hurt when you find that you’re spending less and less time with your children. While they are more independent now, they are still your children and they still need you. That relationship shouldn’t fade, but simply evolve. You still need to make sure that bonding with your children is a priority.
The Importance of Bonding
When children are babies and toddlers, the bonding process is more natural because you are automatically spending a lot of time with your children. You are their whole world. Bonding and building relationships with you will help them to develop socially, mentally, and emotionally. Not only that, but they feel safe around you.
When your children get older, bonding with them becomes a different matter. For some parents, it’s more difficult than it once was, because they have personalities and interests that you might not share. However, it’s still an important part of parenting.
If your children feel close to you, it’s easier to keep them safe. They are more likely to come to you when they have problems and concerns. They might even listen to your advice and guidelines, although every child is different. But they will also feel secure and loved. Your children’s brains will continue to develop, and they will continue to benefit from your support.
While your child getting older might present some challenges, it’s also a joy to see them grow up and develop their own personalities. You should get to know the person that they’re growing into, as you might miss out if you don’t put in the time and effort.
One of the best ways to bond with your children is to spend time with them when they’re relaxed. Find things to do together. Teach them life skills and involve them in your hobbies. Go on walks and learn more about them. But as well as trying to involve them in your life, always remember that they have their own lives and their own interests.
For example, when involving your children in your hobbies, you may find that they don’t have the same interests as you. This doesn’t mean that you should force them to join in anyway so that they spend time with you. Rather, consider learning about their hobbies and interests.
Controlling Screen Time
One of the most common things that modern parents have to contend with is screen time. Screens are a great way to distract fussy babies and toddlers, but many children have grown up surrounded by screens. Some families struggle to regulate how much screen time they should allow their children to have, as they can make it hard to have conversations and truly bond with each other.
One of the best ways to control screen time is to have a frank conversation with your child. They might not agree or understand, but at least they will know what your expectations are. Explain that you aren’t punishing them by restricting screen time, but that you’re trying to help them.
As well as talking with your children, become familiar with their devices and how to restrict their access to them. This might be a restriction on the time they spend per day, or a restriction on what they can access. Every family is different, but the important thing is that you’re consistent.
But rather than setting yourself up as the enemy of screens, you can use this as an opportunity to further bond with your child. Give them alternatives to screen time that they will enjoy. Or you can even spend time with them focusing on their hobbies, as mentioned earlier. Many children use their devices to play video games, and this can be a great way to spend time with them.
How Video Games Can Help You Bond With Your Kids
Whether you’re familiar with video games or not, it’s a good gateway into your child’s lives. The simplest way to get involved is to start playing video games yourself. Some parents take a more passive approach and watch their children play games, but if you pick up a controller, then you can get more involved.
This can be a fun opportunity for you and your child to switch roles. After all, if you are unsure about video games, then they can teach you what they know for a change. But if you’re more familiar with gaming, then you can play together on a more equal basis.
There are plenty of video games that are designed for people to play together. If you’re both in the same house, then grab a second controller and start playing. Ask your children about their preferred kinds of games and introduce them to games that you enjoy. While you’re playing, you can chat and have fun together on their terms.
As well as single-player and co-op games that you might play with your child, you can also find people online to play with. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on who your children are spending time with. Online friendships can be rewarding, and many children play with their friends that they meet at school. But there are also some dangers for parents to look out for.
Many people use servers like Discord to chat and play with other people. Become familiar with how to use these systems and how to fix any issues. For example, if Discord pops up on the family computer all the time, then look into how to disable auto start on launch so that it doesn’t disrupt other family members.
You never know, you might discover a new hobby that you fall in love with.