A key component to healthy development in children is a high-quality parent-child relationship. Children look to their parents or caregivers to determine whether or not they are safe, secure and loved. This relationship becomes the foundation that will influence how a child builds future relationships as well as their personality, choices and behavior. With a secure and healthy attachment, children are more likely to develop positive relationships and have the ability to regulate their emotions.
What can a parent or caregiver do to build a positive relationship with their child?
1. Be in the moment with your child.
2. Spend quality time together including play.
3. Listen and empathize with your child.
4. Validate their feelings.
5. Create an environment where your child feels comfortable exploring.
6. Show your love through gentle and loving touch (i.e., hugs) and by saying “I love you” often.
7. Eat meals together and converse.
8. Set aside time daily to interact distraction free.
9. Create family rituals and routines.
10. Set boundaries, rules, and consequences.
It may not always be easy and will require work and effort, but fostering a positive, high-quality relationship with your child can ensure strong social, physical, and emotional health throughout life. This relationship will also help children stay connected with parents throughout their lives and be more inclined to listen, help, and follow directions.