Parenting With Psychology

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How To Deepen Your Bond With Your Child

ages 0 - 6 months ages 11 years - 18 years ages 5 years - 11 years ages 6 months - 5 years communication consistency relationships routines Feb 15, 2024


Imagine this scene: It's early morning, and you're feeling tired, overwhelmed, and already thinking about the long to-do list ahead.  But as your child comes bounding into the room, their eyes filled with excitement, you take a deep breath and greet them with a genuine smile.  This simple act of joyous connection sets the tone for the day, showing your child how much you love them.  In this blog, we'll explore the everyday actions you can take to demonstrate your love for your child, from morning greetings to words of affirmation and everything in between.  These momentary efforts are a huge investment in your lifelong relationship with your child.  Let's dive in!


The Power of a Morning Greeting

Author Toni Morrison wrote a line that speaks volumes for guiding parents: “When a child walks in a room, your child or anyone else’s child, do your eyes light up?  That’s what they are looking for.”  Children are developing in so many ways - physically, mentally, and emotionally, and part of that is building their sense of self.  Who am I?  Do I have value?  Imagine how much you could boost your child’s sense of self by showing them how happy it makes you to see them every day - how grateful you are to have them in your life every day.  Think about that the next time your child enters the room.  Can you put down your phone, push away your worries, pause from your busy day for just a moment, and show your child your immense love for them?


Morning greetings are a tremendous opportunity to practice this loving act.  They have the power to set your child on the right track for their day.  Regardless of how tired or busy you may feel, greeting your child with joy each morning is a powerful way to show your love.  This immediate connection sets a positive tone for the day by reminding your child that they are valued and cherished.  As your child grows older, this morning greeting may evolve - you may be greeting them in the kitchen at noon rather than them running into your room at 6 am - but the essence remains the same.  A warm smile, a hug, or a simple "good morning" can go a long way in making them feel loved and appreciated.  During their teenage years, they may not be as enthusiastic about morning greetings, but their need for loving interaction remains.  Find that balance between giving them space while purposefully greeting them in a loving way each day.  Let them see your eyes light up at the sight of them.


Intentional Focus and Active Listening

In our fast-paced lives, it's easy to get caught up in distractions when our children are speaking to us.  However, intentionally focusing on your child when they speak is a powerful way to show them that you love and value their thoughts and feelings.  Whether it's putting down your phone, making eye contact, or actively engaging in the conversation, these small acts of attention make a big difference.


If you find yourself in the middle of something important and unable to give your child your full attention, communicate that you will give them your undivided attention shortly.  This teaches them patience and the importance of being present in conversations.  You might say, “I really want to hear about that, but I’m in the middle of something pressing right this second; can you please come back in two minutes.”  Once you're able to fully engage, make sure to actively listen and respond with empathy, validating their emotions and thoughts. 


Kids are very aware of whether parents are constantly multitasking (e.g., typing at the computer or staring at their phone screen) while they talk.  The tricky part is that we use our phones to manage so many of the things that our kids talk to us about as they grow.  In the early years, it seems more clear-cut that your child will benefit from direct interaction while you build block towers, place alphabet letters into words, or mix cookies together.  As they get older, more of your interactions with your child will be about things like, “What time is my play date with Jimmy?” or “Can you please check when those shorts I ordered will arrive.”  In these circumstances, you’ll be staring at a screen to text Jimmy’s mom or to pull up tracking information for an Amazon order, and that’s okay.  Just make eye contact with your child, verbally state that you are picking up your phone to assist them with that project, and pop it back down to relay the information to them so you start and end the conversation with genuine interaction.


Sneaking in Moments of Interest

Throughout the day, look for opportunities to show interest in your child's interests and events in their lives.  This not only demonstrates your love but also strengthens your bond by actively participating in their world.  It could be asking about the book they’re reading, engaging in their imaginative play with them, or attending their school events.  These small gestures communicate that you care about their world and want to be a part of it.


As your child grows older, their interests may change, but the need for your support and interest remains constant.  Stay attuned to their evolving passions and hobbies, and make an effort to engage with them.  Whether it's attending their sports games, helping them with a school project, or simply having a conversation about their latest interests, these moments of shared interest create lasting memories and reinforce your love for them.


The Power of Words and Affirmation 

Words have the power to uplift and inspire.  Regularly expressing words of affirmation to your child can boost their self-esteem and reinforce their sense of love and belonging.  Simple phrases like “I’m proud of you,” “You are capable,” or “I love you just the way you are” can have a profound impact on their emotional well-being.  I knew an uncle once who told me he regularly said to his nephew, “How did you get to be so awesome?”  I just loved that phrase and how his eyes lit up with genuine adoration when he spoke about his nephew.


Make it a habit to sprinkle these affirmations throughout the day, reminding your child of your unwavering love and support.  Whether it's a quick note in their lunchbox, a heartfelt compliment, or a verbal affirmation during a challenging moment, these words of love and encouragement become the foundation of their self-worth and resilience.  As your child gets older, you can adapt by respecting their need for space while still finding ways to show your love.  Leaving a sweet note on their bedside table or sending a text message expressing your love and support can be a meaningful gesture they appreciate.


Ending the Day with a Loving Goodnight

As the day comes to a close, take a moment to connect with your child before they drift off to sleep.  This bedtime routine is an opportunity to express your love and create a sense of security.  Whether it's reading a bedtime story, sharing highlights of the day, or simply saying "I love you," this loving goodnight ritual helps your child feel safe, loved, and ready for a peaceful night's sleep.


Bedtime routines can evolve as your child grows older.  For teenagers, it might involve having a quiet conversation before bed or watching an episode of their favorite show together to spend time in close proximity.  Or it might be giving them space to unwind and reflect on their day but be sure to give them a hug each night before they go to sleep.  The key is to create a consistent routine that allows for connection and reassurance, even as they navigate the challenges of adolescence.


Take-Home Message

Every day is filled with countless opportunities to show your child just how much you love them.  From the joyful morning greeting to intentional focus, sneaking in moments of interest, and ending the day with a loving goodnight, these everyday acts of love are an investment in your lifelong relationship with your child.  Building a strong and loving bond with your child is a journey that requires time, effort, and intentionality.  Embrace the power of love in your parenting journey and watch as it transforms your family dynamics.  Which of the actionable tips discussed above can you focus on with your family this week?  Together, let's create a world where love is the foundation for raising happy, confident, and resilient children.


Showing your child love each and every day is part of the Consistency category in my 5 C’s parenting framework (click here to learn more about The 5 C’s).  To view more posts in this category, use the category search menu on the right of your screen.  Thanks for joining me to fill your parenting toolbox with psychology-based tools to feel more confident and capable in your parenting.  Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!

P.S. Here’s a fun outcome when you take the time to build a loving relationship with your children: They actually want to spend time with you as they get older.  Imagine having teenagers who don’t cringe at the idea of a family outing or dining out with their parents.  Sometimes, parents are unsure of how to spend time with their kids as they advance through various developmental stages.  On my treasured products page, I’ve put together a list of some of our family’s favorite activities around to help inspire fun family time for your family.  Check it out, and plan your next family activity today!


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Amazing parenting is not about always saying
and doing the right thing and raising perfect children.  It’s about becoming intentional in your parenting and proactive in learning skills to help you parent more effectively in a way that fits best for your unique parent-child dynamics.

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