In all the time you spend with your child, which moments do you think contribute most to their well-being?
Family holidays ? A memorable birthday party?
Yes, those times are special, but research says that the most important time we (as parents) spend with our kids are the small day to day moments. That’s because kids need regular, positive emotional experiences with their caregivers in order to feel secure and promote healthy emotional development. We know that children learn from what they see others doing, especially their parents. The way we speak, the way we treat others, the way we react to situations, are powerful character building lessons. By slowing down, being intentional with the questions you ask and being present during the small moments of connections with your children will communicate that they matter and are loved even more so than big elaborate gifts and holidays.
So which day to day moments matter the most? I believe all it takes is 15 minutes throughout the day? So which 15 minutes?
- The 5 minutes after your child wakes up
- The 5 minutes when the two of you reunite after school or work
- The 5 minutes before they go to sleep
(How this works will look slightly different for each family).
The point is that these times are check-ins. Small moments of connection. Before going through a to-do list for the day or asking them about their homework, have a moment to genuinely check-in with them about how they are feeling. Chat about something that’s weighing on their mind, or have a laugh about something silly that happened that day—there’s no pressure or checklist. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at what can happen when you connect with your child intentionally several times a day.
By Nicole Smith, School Counselor