Connecting with children: A Valentine’s Day message from Strong StartWritten by SAFE
Valentine’s Day may be the designated holiday of love, but every day is a good day for love and affection! Children grow, develop, and learn the best when they feel connected to someone who cares about them.
Take the holiday as an opportunity to connect and give the children in your life nurturing love and support. You can build connection with your child through play, laughter, cuddling, and warm, enthusiastic attention.
Simple ways to connect with your child
Parenting is full of challenges and stresses — and we know that every family it is different — so here are few ways to connect with your child wherever they are in their development:
Infants and toddlers: Spend time talking and singing with your little each day. Make time to read together and engage in real conversations, giving them language to communicate and share their feelings.
Elementary age: Be present with your child and make time for activities, like games and walks. When you’re talking with each other, make eye contact, let them know you’re interested, and show them that you are not judging them. Ask your child open ended questions each day: Who did you sit with at lunch today? What was something that made you laugh/smile/giggle at school day? What was something nice you did today? Was there anything at school today that made you upset? Do you have questions about anything you learned today?
Middle and high school: Continue to use those open-ended questions. Read a book together. Journal together. Engage in board games or card games at home. Have date nights.
Make time to connect!
There are 157,784 hours from the time a child is born until they are 18 years old! Many of these hours are spent at work, school, day care, and sleeping. Parents only have so much time to give during these formative years. We encourage parents to build nurturing relationships and find enriching activities to share during this precious time.
The hours we have with our children go fast, so show the ones closest to you that you love them every day. Enjoy Valentine’s Day and every day with your children!
This post was written by SAFE’s Strong Start team. Strong Start empowers families through early childhood services and family support. The program is for parents of children 0-11 years of age who are seeking positive strategies to improve their kids’ behavior and reduce the stress of parenting. Learn more here.