It’s that beautiful time of year again! As we head into spring, many of us look forward to our flowers blooming and some break in the cold or wet weather. It’s also the perfect time to spring into healthy relationships with your kids. Even if you have generally solid relationships with your kids, there are always opportunities to strengthen them. It’s never too late to start incorporating healthy aspects into your relationships with your kids.
Participate in outdoor activities together
As we start saying good-bye to winter and the weather starts clearing up, going outdoors with your kids is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. Go on a local hike to spend quality time together. Often times, we get distracted by our busy schedules, chores, homework, school activities, work activities, parties, fundraisers, and everything else that keeps modern families busy these days.
Going on a hike with your kids allows you to talk without distractions, listen without judgement, and learn new things about each other in a natural environment. You also get in physical activity, which is a plus.
Make appreciative comments the new household norm
It’s not uncommon to find people who feel unappreciated by their actions and efforts in their relationships, especially when the people in the relationships have known each other for a while. This isn’t restricted to romantic relationships. Kids and parents can often feel unappreciated by each other. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on what your kids didn’t do and what they could be doing differently.
This can often lead to toxic patterns in relationships. Start repairing your relationships with your kids by making 2-3 appreciative comments to them every night. Tell your kids they will need to reciprocate as well. Remember, that any positive gesture should be taken into consideration when making appreciative comments. Here are some examples:
- I appreciate how you put your dirty clothes in the hamper this morning.
- I’m proud of you for finishing your science project. I know you worked really hard on it for a long time.
- Thank you for helping me get groceries out of the car earlier today.
Set healthy boundaries in your household
Healthy relationships with your kids can’t happen when parents use authoritative parenting styles or use parenting styles that allow kids to do whatever they want without consequences. Authoritative parenting styles are very strict, inflexible, and allow very little warmth in the relationship. On the flip side, having parents not enforcing any type of rules or consequences for poor choices, increases the risk of kids not gaining valuable life skills.
In addition, parents end up conditioning their kids to continue with these undesired behaviors. You can set healthy boundaries with your kids in many different ways. The following list has several examples:
- Set clear expectations, rules, and consequences for broken rules upfront.
- Label the behavior as appropriate or inappropriate. Avoid labeling the child’s personality or character.
- Follow through on consequences.
- Model the behavior you expect from your children.
Spring is an exciting time to start fresh and try new things. Spring into healthy relationships with your kids this year and you’ll feel closer to each other before you know it.
CHIME N: How do you foster relationships with your children? Share in the comments below!
Joyce is a mom and writer that blogs at Celebrate Moms Forever. She enjoys writing about topics that will inspire moms in an authentic way. You can find her writing about various topics including parenting, motherhood, pregnancy, baby needs, and finances for moms.