The writing has been on the wall for years, but then Covid came. Although we know that children and teens are statistically less social (at least in person) than any other generation, nothing could have accelerated this phenomena like a global lockdown.
Not only did our kids give up time with friends and after school sports/activities, but they also lost their second home and probably biggest social setting, their school!
As the world slowly transitions back to normal, there are many opportunities to inject some much needed social connection into your child’s life, and the best part is, all you need is Y-O-U.
Below are a variety of things that you can do that will help foster a sense of connection in your kids and help make kids happier:
Get Back To Family Dinners
Did you enjoy the tradition of family dinners and game nights from the first few weeks of lockdown? Let’s get back to them shall we? Gabor Mate, a leading figure in childhood development and trauma agrees. The communal or family dining table has been around for centuries and has proven to be a key moment of connection in a child’s daily life.
Indulge In Family Activities
Similarly to family dining, family activities can also help boost connection with your child. By actively participating in their interests, you show your kids that their likes and interests are of value and that you support them. It can also bring out our inner child, who may need to come out and play a little more often. So, although smartphones can make life convenient as you order groceries while at a playground with the kids, try to put the phone away when you can to be present and actively indulging in adventure with your children.
Expand Your Nurturing Spirit
This one should be self explanatory! I’m sure we all could use a hug or two after the last two years. Some children need that little extra TLC in times like this, it’s good to recognize when they may need a little more nurturing and a signal of support.
An Open Ear and Assuring Disposition
As parents, we can often get stuck in emergency clean up situations. We see our child’s big emotions and valid concerns and jump right into action, problem solving instead of actively listening. Problem solving has helped us in the past, but it’s not always needed. One of the best things we can do for our kids is to listen, really listen and provide comfort and assurance instead of a list of next steps.