In connection with our #100DaysConnected Challenge, I have created a list of fun, simple and easy ways to connect with your child (or children) every day. Please use the hashtag so I can see all the fun things you are doing! There may or may not be some prizes along the way 😉 Don’t forget to print the free printables at the end!
Intentional Ways to Connect With Your Child
- Give a hug. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to connect with your child! Trust the science on this one. Sincere hugs do all kinds of good things for our body and for our emotional and mental health. Give these daily.
- Get down on their level. Let kids know you respect what they are saying by getting down on their level and looking them in the eyes. This only takes seconds, but can make a big difference.
- Create Something. Kids LOVE to create. Get a craft kit, paint rocks…you get the idea. The best way to ensure connection is by doing something that requires your help for them to accomplish. Some of our favorite craft kits are by this brand. They have probably a hundred of them, for all ages. Connect with your child by learning a new skill together, or creating something fun. You can also find many fun ideas in our articles 100 Days of summer fun and Creative Summer Schedule for Fun Summer Activities, and Indoor Activities to Do With Kids, and activities Playing With Your Kids: Screen-Free Activities.
- Watch them perform. Kids adore attention, especially when it’s undivided, all-eyes-on-them. Some kids are more shy about asking for attention though, so you might need to really tune in for opportunities to watch them show off their talent.
- Get down on the floor and play toys. It’s goof for children to learn self-play, but oftentimes this can be learned by getting down on the floor with them and teaching them how to use their imagination. My husband and I try to reserve at least 1 day a week for getting down on the floor and playing trains, dolls, etc. with our children. They soak it up and it’s a great way to connect with your child.
- Do something out of the ordinary. Whether it’s celebrating a random a weird holiday, having a family dinner outside, or checking your kid out from school for a special outing…kids thrive on experiences like this! This is one of my favorite ways to connect with my child, because my own inner child likes to be spontaneous too!
- Listen while they are talking (like really listen). This can be hard. We here the word “mom” so many times in one day that it can be easy to totally tune out. Try to notice moments when you are only pretending to listen, and allow yourself to really connect with your child in this moment. You never know when a valuable teaching moment is presenting itself.
- Write a note/letter. Sometimes we aren’t very great at expressing our love and appreciation for loved ones. Sitting down to write out our thoughts can really help us notice these things. It’s also a meaningful way to connect with your child and add a little “extra something” to do their day. You never know when your words will be exactly what they need. And they may not ever tell you.
- Engage with their friends. This one is huge on the list of ways to connect with your child, for obvious reasons. Having interest in your child’s interests, also means their friends. This will also help you to tune into the ways your children interact with their peers, and also possible things you need to be alerted to (toxic friendships, etc.). My husband and I have a goal to make our home an open, friendly place where our kid’s friends will always want to come, so that we can stay connected in our children’s lives.
- Give heart-felt compliments. This is especially meaningful when you say positive things about your children when talking to other people, and even better if they don’t think you know they are listening. Children need to know that you see the positive sides of them. No one is motivated by criticism, and unfortunately kids sometimes get more criticism than they do praise.
- Have a dance party. My kids love this. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it’s one of our favorite ways to bond as a family. When started early, it also teaches your children to be comfortable in their own skin.
- Go for a walk. Endorphins, communication and exercise! What a great combo.
- Ride bikes. Kids often love this, especially if their parent is willing to ride with them! See our Bike Ride Scavenger Hunt to kick things up a notch.
- Play Hide and Seek. This one never gets old, but I can get into the habit of saying “mommy can’t play right now,” however…the times that I have made time to play and connect, have never been regretted.
- Start a discussion. You might be surprised to see where discussion turns when you take the time to simply ask questions. Ask your kids how they feel about the world. What their favorite things are. Their worries and fears. This type of connection with your child can lead to great teaching moments.
- Drive Time. Oh the many opportunities that can be had in the car. Whether it’s a discussion or a simple game of “I Spy,” sometimes turning down the music and turning up the talking can lead to great family memories.
- Laugh. Funny jokes, funny movies, or just the good ol’ fashioned habit of finding humor in daily life! Humor is a great way to connect with your child, and to cope with daily life in a positive way.
- Clean together. Sometimes we can feel that there is just too much to get done in a day, and not enough time to play. On these days, take time to clean with your child and spark up some good conversation (or a dance party) in the process.
- Go to a park or museum. Sometimes we need to just get out of the house and escape our daily routine to inspire some connection.
- Exercise. Play sports, chase each other, or sign up for a family 5k! These moments are forever remembered.
- Go to lunch. If it’s summer, go for a picnic, or if it’s during the school year, consider checking your kid out of school for a special lunch together. 1-on-1 time is the best way to connect with your child and discover what they are really thinking/feeling about life. Our local elementary school allows parents to eat in the lunch room with their child, so my husband and I have taken advantage of this opportunity a couple of times. Not only is it a great way to connect, but it’ a good opportunity to meet your kid’s friends. My daughter always beams with joy when we come eat lunch with her and chat with all her friends.
- Work on a hobby. What kinds of things really interest your child? What kinds of things are they wanting to be better at? Find ways to facilitate some 1-on-1 time to work on a hobby with your child.
- Make Believe. If you have younger children, this is a fun way to connect, not just for the child, but for the adult. It’s healthy for us to tap into our inner child and remember what it was like to dream.
- Read together. You don’t have to go far to find the studies on this one either. Reading together with your child has profound effects, and can often be overlooked in our busy world. By the time bedtime comes around, many of us want to “be done for the day” and just get them in bed! Make bedtime a little earlier if you need to, but try to make time for reading together. Not only will this habit create connection, but it will greatly benefit your child academically.
- Play Outside. Ahhh….fresh air. So good for the soul. Our bodies need it, especially in a world that has become so electronically centered. Making time to be outside is greatly needed for both parent and child.
- Cook Something. If you don’t have time for creating fun things in the kitchen with your child, find creative ways to involve them in the dinner process. They might complain if they are older, but the connection time will prove to be worth it. Plus, you will help them learn valuable skills so they don’t starve when they get to college.
- Eat dinner together. This is by far one of the number one things you can do to connect with your child, and your spouse. It is so crucial that families eat dinner together, and studies show all kinds of benefits. If you have a family involved in multiple activities, find a way. Get creative. Don’t let this one slide.
- Bedtime questions. Ending the day with “what was the best thing that happened today?” or “what was your least favorite part about today” can lead to some valuable discussions, and give you insight into your child’s heart and life.
- Have a picnic. Combine the benefits of being outside, and eating together into one. Picnics are great ways to connect with loved ones!
Ways to connect with your spouse
As parents, we can sometimes get so involved with our children’s lives that we forget to make our spouse #1. Some like to argue that children should be #1 in our lives, but it has been proven that children are healthier and happier when their parents have a healthy, happy and connected marriage.
When we put our spouse’s happiness first, we are also contributing to the happiness of our children. Here are just a few ways to increase connection with our spouse. You might also check out this list of Words of Affirmation Every Relationship Needs to hear (many of these are great for kids too), and 30 Days to a Better Wife.
- Send a text
- Go to lunch
- Go on a date
- Compliment/words of affirmation
- Eat dinner together
- Non-sexual touch
- Make time for intimacy
- Act of service
- Show interest in hobbies
- Connect with your children
- Honor personal time
Free Printables for How to Connect With Your Child
<<<<<<<PRINT THEM HERE>>>>>>>
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