Positive parent-child relationships are important for all areas of children’s development. By being in the moment, spending quality time and showing warmth, care and respect, you can strengthen your relationship with your child.
Good parent-child relationships: why they’re important
Children’s most important early relationships are with parents.
Positive parent-child relationships help children learn about the world – whether the world is safe and secure, whether they’re loved, who loves them, what happens when they cry, laugh or make a face, and much more
These relationships affect all areas of children’s development.
You can build a positive parent-child relationship by:
There’s no formula for getting your parent-child relationship right, and there’ll be times when it’s hard to relate to your child the way you want to. But if you keep working on improving your relationship over time, your child will feel loved and secure.
How being in the moment helps parent-child relationships
Being in the moment is about tuning in and thinking about what’s going on with your child. It shows your child that you care about the things that matter to him, which is the basis for a strong relationship.
Here are some ideas for being in the moment with your child:
Part of being in the moment with your child is giving him the opportunity to take the lead sometimes. For example:
Repeating or rephrasing your child’s words, smiling and making eye contact will let him know you’re paying attention when you’re talking or spending time together. These expressions of warmth and interest help your child feel secure and build his confidence.
Spending ‘quality time’ to build your parent-child relationship
Positive parent-child relationships are built on quality time. Time together is how you get to know about each other’s experiences, thoughts, feelings and changing interests. This is great for your relationship with your child.
Quality time can happen anytime and anywhere, in the middle of ordinary days and situations. It can be a shared laugh when you’re bathing your toddler or a good conversation in the car with your teenage child.
When you spend quality time with your child, you’re showing that you value and appreciate her. You can take advantage of quality time to communicate powerful positive messages with your smiles, laughter, eye contact, hugs and gentle touches.
Try to plan some regular one-on-one time with each of your children. Children have different personalities, and some children might seem to need less time than others – but they’ll all benefit from special time with you. On busy work days, you might not have a lot of one-on-one time with your children, but it’s good to have longer interactions when you can.
The time you spend with your child also makes a difference to how he learns. For example, the time you spend talking with your child in the first three years of life helps him learn language.
Trust, caring and respect in positive parent-child relationships
Trust and respect are essential to a positive parent-child relationship.
Even in the early years with your baby, developing trust and respect is important. Your baby will feel secure when she learns she can trust her primary caregivers to meet her needs. Trust and respect become more of a two-way street as your child gets older.
You can nurture trust and respect in your relationship. For example:
In this video, parents share their experience of bonding with their newborns, and how the connections may not be instant for some of them.