3 Tips for Dads to Connect with Their Kids
It’s easy to feel overcome with the repetition of the day and not realize all the opportunities to connect with our kids. Here are 3 tips for dad on how to find that connection.
#1: Pay Attention
A trip to the park could mean you let the kids play and run free. But those are some of the best times to pay attention. I love taking my son, Hiro, to the park and watching him play and see how he interacts with other kids. I love looking into his eyes and letting him know how proud I am seeing him share things like the swing or let someone cross a bridge before him.
Or if he makes something with his LEGOs, I’ll make something similar and ask him, “How did I do?” I’ll also find ways to encourage him like telling him his LEGO creation is really strong, or really cool. Hiro has returned the encouragement right back at me.
Tip #2: Best Distraction
If Hiro misses a nap or hasn’t eaten, he can get hangry. While some parenting strategies suggest a timeout, I suggest a time-in. When the child is having his most stressful and needy moments, telling him to take a timeout is like me telling him his needs are not important to me. I don’t want him to feel like I’m abandoning him. Instead, I want to make myself available.
I’ll call him to stand at attention in front of me and look me in the eyes. Then I confirm his actions. I might say, “I know you’re frustrated. I understand you, son.” I’ll tell him it’s unacceptable to act out of line, slow down. I connect with him to let him know there are better ways to express frustration.
We discuss triggers and that he can come talk to his parents before he gets upset.
Of course each child is different, and maybe timeouts work for your family. The main thing is to diffuse the emotional dependency on using the temper as the coping mechanism and instead use connection with mom or dad to help navigate these emotions.
Tip #3: Ask for Help
I LOVE asking Hiro for help with tasks and I make the effort to look into his eyes and say thank you. He lights up when he feels helpful.
I’ll also ask him to share his food with me. Then I really express how much I LOVE what he’s eating. This allows us to share a feeling. Hiro wants to show me how much stronger and helpful he is each day. Also, Hiro knows I always reward him with a huge hug and kiss, and I’ll tell him I am proud of him.
More moments of encouragement = more opportunities to connect with our kids.
Akira Monma founded ImagineDads to share experiences to provide potential solutions or ideas to help each other and to let you know, you are not alone.
Loving husband and father Akira Monma is a senior software engineer for Collins Aerospace. The former gymnastics instructor and competitive break dancer coaches and instills confidence in students to realize the greatness he sees in them. He also is the founder of ImagineDads YouTube channel.
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