When you think of bonding activities for parents and kids, you automatically think of many hours of playtime or meals together with your little ones. Indeed, creating that bond between parent and child is so important at many levels: love, security, communication are just a few of the connections that are established.
And as important as things like play and mealtimes together are, psychologists say that bonding between kids and their parents can also happen in as little as three minutes. Have you heard of the 3-minute rule, mums and dads?
The ‘3-minute’ Rule, according to a psychologist
As parents, we’re constantly “busy”, whether it is with taking care of our kids or working. Usually both… and some more.
If we’re working, that leaves us with even less precious time to spend with our kids. When we do get to finally spend time with them, are we fully present? Is there anything we’re missing out on?
There could be indeed something — and it could be the most important part of your day.
According to Psychologist Nataliya Sirotich, head of the Center of Work with Children and Youth, there is a precious 3-minute ritual that not many parents perform with their child.
The rule of 3 minutes says that when you return home, you focus fully on your child for at least 3 minutes. And you have to do this without fail, every day.
It is a simple yet effective way that helps to improve family relations. By following this rule, Sirotich says that a child learns to be totally secure with parents. The child’s trust could even be carried on till they become teenagers.
Mums and dads, this may also be applicable if you have gone out of the house on chores like a department store.
Bonding Activities For Parent And Child: How To Manage These 3 Minutes Correctly?
It’s not simply just sharing that 3 minutes with your child. There are some important things to note, of course.
1. Position yourself at the same eye level
As you spend those 3 minutes in the presence of your child, ensure that you are at the same eye level as him or her.
Whether it’s sitting on a sofa or on the floor with your child standing or sitting down beside you, maintaining that same eye level is crucial.
Bonding activities for parent and child: a reminder to be at eye level with them. | Source: File photo
2. Observe the 3-minute rule when picking your child up from school
This is especially important when you’re fetching your little one from the kindergarten. It’s been a while since you’ve seen them so why not just simply spend 3 minutes: hug them and gently ask them to share more about their day in school and what they did.
Don’t downplay the importance of small talk here because a child can feel as though they are not being heard if you don’t focus on them. The interactions you have with them are extremely important to them.
Your eager little ones can’t help but feel excited to share whatever that is going on in their minds when they see you, according to Sirotich. You are his/ her greatest friend!
Protip: Follow up on what they tell you by asking specific questions about it. Never shrug them off.
3. What you should never do
You should never ignore fully focussing these 3 minutes on your child after a period of not being with them. When you don’t dedicate time to your child, they might stop placing importance on their own daily experiences.
It could come off to them as though you are disinterested and in the future, they could even grow up thinking that they should keep things to themselves.
3. Of course, don’t to take it literally
The ‘3-minute’ rule simply means taking the extra effort to spend at least 3 minutes fully focused on your child, so that they can tell you the most important things the moment they see you.
Bonding Activities For Parent and Child To Create Better Bond of Understanding
There are other things you can do to create a better bond with your child, according to Psychologists.
1. Engage in mutual interests with your child
The key here is letting them know that you are interested in spending time together with them and partaking in activities together. It could be as simple as playing a game, cooking or some DIY projects!
During this time, focus on them and being with them. Everything else can wait.
2. Letting your child know that they can always talk and confide in you
Mums and dads, it’s important to practice active listening when speaking with your child.
Besides just taking in what they have to say, your child needs to know that you have understood them perfectly. How will that benefit you in the long term?
They will grow up understanding your role as a figure of authority and a loving place for support. You can also be sure that they can count on you anytime if they have anything to say or reveal. What’s more, you can expect that this behaviour will most likely carry on in teen life.
3. Be genuine, do away with the fake excitement
Sometimes, you might not identify with whatever your child may be expressing to you.
In your attempt to respond to your kid appropriately, the key is to always come from a genuine place. Kids are way smarter than you think. And some are able to catch on when you are faking it.
Protip: Revisit the conversation that they both of you have, as it reinforces in your child that you have indeed listened and took in what he or she said.
Consequences Of Ignoring Your Child
It doesn’t mean that if you don’t practice the 3 minute rule, you are ignoring your child. But not observing this 3 minute rule could manifest in other ways as your child grows older.
- Cultivating a closed nature — they could withdraw into their own shell
- You’re seen to be not with them in times of need and when they get older, they will find less reason to speak with you.
- They could be reluctant or see no need to share important details of their lives with you.
The effects of paying extra attention to the little details are long-lasting. The key is always consistency and showing that you’re with your kids every step of the way.
Source: Zeptha, American Psychological Association