One on one trips with children are so important for families to do. It is a wonderful opportunity to deepen the bond with your child when you can leave the siblings or partner at home. There are 3-main tips to focus on when engaging in your trip with your child:
Strengthening their positive frame
The day to day questions, prompts, and commands aimed at keeping children doing what they need to and teach them what they need to learn often create a negative frame around a child. It is stressful to hear your parents continually say, “No, Don’t, Stop .. You need to ..” In life as parents there is often an imbalance of positive experiences in a relationships and those real life day to day demands that as parents you must put on them. One on one trips remind children that a) You DO enjoy them and b) You DO value your close connection with them. This special time together builds their self-esteem and sets the stage for them to WANT to comply with you more in the day to day.
Have your child collaborate with you on the plans, schedule and encourage them them to have input on the task. This will help your child to see that things do not have to be “your way” all the time (as it may feel for a child despite the fact your focus on them in the day to day). It also builds the bond stronger between you and your child as they experience seeing you share their world through their eyes. They will imitate this reciprocity back to you when done consistently and they too will follow your lead. Just like in adult relationships, it means more when you do something your partner likes, especially when they know you’re not a big fan of it – and it means even MORE when you are doing it with a good attitude.
Dust off YOUR listening ears
While on this wonderful trip – make it a point to decrease your questions and increase your listening. Parents (though well intended) get a bad rap for exploding a lot of questions on to their children. Questions actually increase stress between parent and child (think about your last Thanksgiving at your parent’s house). Instead, making statements like, “I wonder what you’re thinking” and let it go if they don’t respond. When they are talking – repeat back what they are saying (paraphrase it) before you respond like you are really validating them. “That’s right, you DO like Gummy Worms!” This further builds the bond, makes them feel special and validated (and teaches them to listen to you).
Raising children is rarely easy. But, the fact that they do respond better when you guys are out in your one to one time Says a lot. If they are better on one to ones in a regular day… think about what a trip with just the two of you can do. Taking these 3 tips on the road with you and your child are sure to contribute to a great experience and lasting memories. Sign up for more tips at www.cbtiofsocal.com