However, it can be hard to know how best to do this. How do you build that connection, and find time for those meaningful conversations that can lead to stronger emotional wellbeing?
The research suggests it might be easier than you think. Instead of big grand gestures, it’s often the little everyday moments that families share, sometimes without even noticing, which can help make a real difference to the mental wellbeing of children.
We recently conducted research on Conversations with Children, and found that around 46% of parents surveyed worry that they don’t spend enough time with their kids. A further one in three parents felt that they don’t have enough time to consider their kids’ questions to answer them properly, or are asked questions that they don’t have the answers to.
However, families who enjoy regular little moments to connect appear to have greater trust and two-way communication, and in the bigger picture, they can often deal with family issues and wider problems more easily.
Try not to overthink it. Chances are, you’re already sharing these moments together and you may not even realise it.
Think about the time you spend washing the dishes together, brushing your teeth, getting to and from school, packing lunch boxes, walking the dog, reading a bedtime story, or folding the clothes. All of these little daily moments can be great opportunities to chat and connect, and ultimately for you to strengthen those bonds with your child.
Research also suggests that family meals, whether it is breakfast lunch or dinner, contribute to better mental and physical health for kids. The average duration of a family meal is typically only about 18 minutes, so it really is a little moment. But the casual nature, as well as the verbal, social and emotional communication helps to build those important bonds.
One of the biggest barriers parents mentioned to achieving a meaningful connection, even in the little moments, was not knowing where to start.
Psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld believes the key to making the most of every moment is being present and showing your kids that you’re listening and enjoying their company. He suggests:
Get involved in the Bupa family challenge here.
It’s a free, easy and fun program that offers ideas and inspiration to make the everyday moments count. Designed for busy families there is a new challenge to try each week that will help you turn the little moments of family chaos into opportunities to talk, connect and improve your family’s health and wellbeing.
Those little moments really do matter.
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