5-6 YEARS OLD

How do you strengthen the par­ent-child bond when you have more than one kid? DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON of­fers 10 ways to do this.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Learn the se­crets to strength­en­ing the par­ent-child bond when you have more than one kid.

Keep­ing a strong re­la­tion­ship with your child is chal­leng­ing enough when you only have one, but when you have two or more, it be­comes even more dif­fi­cult be­cause they com­pete end­lessly for your love, at­ten­tion, time and re­sources.

You find your­self just fo­cused on get­ting the kids from Point A to Point B ev­ery day, with no time or en­ergy to prop­erly en­gage them as in­di­vid­u­als. That’s why you should make a con­scious ef­fort to be fully present with each child.

Here are 10 sug­ges­tions on how you can do this.

Make each kid feel spe­cial

“Firsts” are al­ways more ex­cit­ing and it’s only nat­u­ral that your ex­cite­ment at your sec­ond child’s achieve­ments might be less than at those of your older child.

But your lit­tle one needs to feel valued and spe­cial, too. Go to his shows, dis­play his paint­ings, and praise his achieve­ments, just as you did with your first­born.

Show that you are fair

There will be times when both chil­dren come to you, each com­plain­ing about the other’s an­noy­ing be­hav­iour. Al­low each of them to ex­press their point of view, show them that you are lis­ten­ing and treat them both fairly.

Give each of them in­di­vid­ual time

Spend time with each of your chil­dren in­di­vid­u­ally ev­ery day. All it takes is five or 10 min­utes when they come home from school, or be­fore they go to bed.

Those pre­cious mo­ments alone with you boost your re­la­tion­ship with each of them.

Show pos­i­tive at­ten­tion

Don’t wait un­til your chil­dren mis­be­have be­fore you give them your neg­a­tive at­ten­tion.

In­stead, give them pos­i­tive at­ten­tion when they are not ex­pect­ing it – for ex­am­ple, when they are play­ing well to­gether or when they are qui­etly read­ing a book. This un­ex­pected ges­ture de­lights them.

En­cour­age co­op­er­a­tion

Help them learn how to share and co­op­er­ate with each other. Give them mi­nor tasks that re­quire them to work to­gether in or­der to com­plete them, such as lay­ing the plates for din­ner, or tidy­ing their toys. Show them how to man­age this job to­gether, with­out ar­gu­ing.

Help them re­solve conicts

Sib­lings fight at times; that’s in­evitable. But you can strengthen your re­la­tion­ship with them by help­ing them set­tle re­cur­ring dis­putes.

Bring them to­gether, sit them so they face each other, and dis­cuss the prob­lem un­til it’s sorted out. You’ll be pleas­antly sur­prised when they later say: “Thanks, Mum”.

Do things as a fam­ily

Maybe you dread the prospect of tak­ing your chil­dren on an out­ing be­cause of all the prepa­ra­tion that’s in­volved, the bick­er­ing that’s likely, and the pos­si­ble mis­be­haviour. But or­gan­ise these out­ings any­way be­cause they make that bond be­tween fam­ily mem­bers stronger.

Give your chil­dren choices

Par­ent­ing is so much eas­ier if you could just tell your kids what to do all the time. How­ever, that can strain your re­la­tion­ship with them. It’s far bet­ter to give each of your chil­dren mi­nor choices about, for ex­am­ple, which of two T-shirts to wear, or which of two sto­ries they want you to read to them at bed­time.

Avoid com­par­isons

Each of your chil­dren is a unique in­di­vid­ual with their own spe­cial blend of tal­ents, abil­i­ties and per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics. So, don’t com­pare them with each other (at least not in front of them).

Com­par­isons like that are di­vi­sive and cre­ate un­nec­es­sary re­sent­ment. Treat each of them in­di­vid­u­ally.

Give lots of af­fec­tion

Love and af­fec­tion – ex­pressed ver­bally and phys­i­cally – is the glue of all par­ent-child re­la­tion­ships.

The hug, the cud­dle, the gen­tle touch on the shoul­der to in­di­cate ap­proval, the “I love you”, are all cen­tral to your chil­dren’s emo­tional well­be­ing – that is the most ba­sic way of telling them that you think they are won­der­ful.

Spend time with each of your chil­dren in­di­vid­u­ally ev­ery day. All it takes is ve or 10 min­utes when they come home from school, or be­fore they go to bed.

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