In my last article I discussed the importance of forming a health attachment with your children and how it is crucial for their brain development. I also discussed how this role has been lost in our modern, busy, technologically enhanced lives. We need to continue to nurture our connection with our children despite how complex our lives have become. To this effect here is a list of ways that you can do this:
1. Smile when you see your child.
2. Hug and kiss your child when you see them after they get home from school or activities.
3. Ask your child how their day was.
4. Ask them how they’re feeling.
5. Ask them what’s on their mind.
6. Ask them what they’re working on at school or in their other activities.
7. Ask them if they need any help with anything.
8. Have dinner together as a family with no electronic or other distractions and discuss current events, either in their lives or in the world at large.
9. Take your children to their extracurricular activities and spend time watching them in part or in full.
10. Get to know your children’s friends and ask your children to have them over.
11. Do a group gratitude practice with your children either at dinner or before you all go to sleep.
12. If you can make the time, drive your children to school yourself and use it as a time to discuss current events as you listen to the news or something in their lives if that is more pertinent at the time.
13. Play catch or driveway basketball with your children on the weekends.
14. Do a family activity at least once a week. It could be as simple as doing groceries together as a family.
15. Play impromptu tag with them.
16. Read them a book before they go to sleep.
17. Let them help with meal preparation at dinner time.
18. Take them to the library to help them put out some books to read in their free time.
19. Teach them a skill that you are good at.
20. Ask them to help you with making household decisions such as what colour to repaint the bedrooms or where you should all go on vacation next year.
21. Ask them their opinion about current global events.
22. Ask them about their dreams and ambitions.
23. Ask them what scares them and why.
24. Give them a problem to solve and help them find the solution. An example is how to minimize screen time and increase physical activity in a fun way.
25. Be fully present with your children when they show emotional distress.
Doing anything from the above list with your children, on a regular basis, will help you nurture a deep connection to them which will help them awaken, thrive and become the best version of themselves.
Nauman Naeem MD