Teen Health    

17 easy ways to strengthen your connection with your child

I'm too busy for my kids

tips for strengthening family bond

Most moms appreciate being acknowledged, but many still feel overwhelmed by the pressures of daily life. They would like to fit more time with their children into their busy schedules, but don't know how. The solution may be easier than you imagine.

Here are 17 easy ways to strengthen your connection with your child. The good news is: they don't take much time.

1. Always smile when your child comes in the room.

2. Hug at least once a day. For older children and teens, who may be embarrassed, do it in private. Try telling them you are the one who needs it.

3. Schedule time every day to connect with your child - to talk about how their day went or perhaps read together or play a short game of his or her choice. Regularity is more important than length of time.

4. Include your children in your daily activities: Let them help in the kitchen or the garden, but keep the atmosphere light and the conversation easy - no scolding or criticizing.

5. Make up poems or stories together - taking turns adding a line. Laughs are guaranteed.

6. Use words of encouragement rather than criticism.

7. If your child needs correcting, do it gently, in a way that teaches, without scolding or put-downs.

8. Ask your children's opinions often - about little things and also more important issues. Let them know you value their ideas.

READ MORE: Bring back family bonding this fall

9. Watch TV programs together that will help your children to learn about life, then ask their opinion and talk about the issues from the show.

10. Speak to them with courtesy: Say "Please" and "Thank you," and use kind words.

11. Apologize when you have been wrong. Show them we all make mistakes.

12. Write a note to let them know you're thinking about them - perhaps with a joke or funny message - and hide it in their lunch box, book bag or a dresser drawer.

13. Don't expect them to be perfect.

14. Forgive easily then gently help them learn from their mistakes.

15. Let your children over-hear you praising them to someone else.

16. Create a bed-time ritual. It may include reading a story or poem, saying a prayer, remembering loved ones, talking about the day, singing a song, making funny faces or anything that helps you end the day in a positive way.

17. As you are falling asleep, think of something you appreciate about your child. Feel your love, and send some of it silently to your child. Sweet dreams.