Wondering how to bond with your child? Here’s the random and weird thing that worked for me during a car ride one day: I slowly filled my mouth with water from the bottle and when she wasn’t paying attention, I expertly spewed a thin stream right at my daughter’s earlobe. First came shock. Then a vengeful glint in her eye told me to expect to get wet.
We were on a long drive from our remote town to the big city and it had been quiet for too long. We had a 30-second water fight in the car that resulted in the kind of laughter that made our stomachs hurt. After that, she talked and talked as she shared her heart. The playfulness had opened her up and brought us closer. I learned that there’s no secret to how to bond with your child and it doesn’t take much to connect—even five seconds can do the trick. Here are 21 five-second connection moments you can have with your kids.
- Say affirmations such as “I appreciate you.”
- Ask “What was your favorite thing that happened today?”
- Randomly hang a piece of their art on the fridge, even if you have to dig it out of the closet and your child is in high school.
- Give each of your kids a toast at dinner time. I bet they’ll sit up taller.
- Ask “if” questions like, “If you could be a superhero, what special powers would you have?”
- Ask how their friends are doing.
- Make funny faces at each other.
- Have a staring contest.
- Notice something important to them and comment on it.
- Look them in the eyes and say, “I’m proud of you.”
- Comment on something they’ve done right.
- Have them choose what the family eats for dinner.
- Draw a pen tattoo on their arm.
- Ask if there is something they would like you to pray with them about.
- Wink at them from across the room.
- Give them their favorite treat unexpectedly.
- Wish them a good morning before giving them instructions for the day.
- Say yes to something when you’d normally say no to it.
- Touch them on the shoulder and give it a loving squeeze.
- Buy them their favorite treat and leave it on their bed with a thank you note that says, “Thanks for being my kid.”
- Draw a face on your child’s stomach, making the belly button the nose.
What have been some surprising bonding moments with your kids? Share your ideas for a five-second connection in the comments!