Do you find your child misbehaving a lot? Not listening to you? Maybe you have constant struggles getting them to get ready in the mornings or at bedtimes? Sometimes it may seem like they are always giving you a hard time! Children don’t want to misbehave but they do act out when they want our attention. A child who does not feel they are getting our attention, one who does not feel connected or bonded to their parent will look for that connection in any way they can. This often results in the child misbehaving, having temper tantrums to get our attention, whether it’s positive or negative attention, since negative attention is better than none in their eyes. You can prevent misbehaviour by working on strengthening the bond with your child.
When we think of bonding, we often think of those first days in the hospital and the nights nursing them as infants. As important as that bonding time was, it is important to continue working on that bond.
You may be thinking “but I spend all day with them!” Even though you may spend all day with your kids, think about how much of that time is actually spent connecting in a special way with each child. When you really think about it, we are often on the go, transitioning from home to daycare or school, or we may be home but we are constantly doing or at least thinking about all the things we as parents have on our plate.
Bond every single day.
Children need bonding time with each parent every single day! All it takes is a minimum of 10-15 minutes a day! Maybe you have heard the term ‘filling their bucket’ and that is a great analogy to help us see how this bonding time needs to be filled each day. Children need this time to feel balanced, loved and know they are being heard. Meeting that need daily will curb misbehaviour and reduce the intensity of any outbursts they do have.
Tips to fit bonding time into your busy day:
In the mornings:
- Allow time in your schedule to spend with your child: cuddle or read for a few minutes before getting ready for the day; yes, that may mean getting up 15-30 min earlier but it will be worth it!
- Make sure to give them a hug!
When dropping them off at daycare or school:
- Hug them before sending them off
- Make eye contact with them
- Provide reassuring words “I can’t wait to see you after work!”
After school or daycare:
- Give them a hug!
- Tell them how happy you are to see them after your day apart
- Ask them about their day, what was their favorite part of the day?
Before bedtime (this is great for kids with separation anxiety):
- Spend time reading and chatting before bed; make it a part of your nightly routine
- Make sure to give each child some individual attention
Doesn’t it seem simple? It is, but when we are always rushing to fit everything into our day, we really have to be conscious of the fact that it may require effort to make that time to connect with our children. Slow down. Enjoy that time with your child. You may be surprised by the change in their behaviour and even more surprised when you learn that it is often their favorite time of the day!