It's not uncommon for parents to feel like they're not getting as much out of their parent time as they'd like to. Whether you're freshly divorced and transitioning into a custody routine or simply trying to pull your teen away from a video game, it can be challenging to make use of these short intermittent periods.
Here are a few tips every parent can use to try to maintain a close bond with their child while spending time together.
Family dinners are a must
If your child is involved in clubs, sports or friends most of the time, it may be challenging to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him or her. One way to fit this time in while you're with your child is to incorporate family dinners into the routine.
You can even take this a step further by allowing your child's say in the meal you share and letting them help with its preparation. In addition to teaching your child real-life skills, they'll also treasure this opportunity to connect with you -- whether they realize it or not.
On occasion, your child may ask to eat dinner out with their team, at a friends house or at McDonald's. It's okay to make exceptions, but try to keep family dinners part of their normal routine with you.
Activities that appeal to them
Parent time can't always be fun and games. Sometimes your child may need to take a boring trip with you to a hardware shop or the grocery store. Try to compensate by doing at least one new activity that appeals to your child.
Try not to count activities your child normally does, like watching TV or playing video games. Doing new things with your child instead will help cultivate their interests and expand their worldview. If they seem creative, try doing a painting class together. If your child solves puzzles, put them to the test in a mirror maze or escape room.
Share your feelings
One way people bond is by sharing how they feel with one another. If your child is in their teen years, you're more likely to see them resisting to share their feelings with you. Try to stay patient and open to discussion.
One such subject to discuss may be your divorce. Don't overshare details about your relationship with their parent or your opinions of their other parent. But, you should encourage that they share when they are feeling sad, frustrated, excited or proud. This will help your child trust you and feel confident expressing their emotions in other relationships they make throughout their life.