A child's needs go beyond the basics of food, water and shelter. In order to build a happy parent-child relationship, you need to go a step beyond that and give your child love, time and attention. Here are 13 small but impactful ways to fill your child's needs:
1. Slip a note in your child's lunch box
Show your child you're thinking of him or her by slipping a note into their lunchbox for a fun surprise mid-day. A sweet note will give your child the motivation needed to get through the rest of the school day.
2. Cover the driveway with chalk drawings
Do something artsy together. Draw with chalk on a nice sunny day (or paint with watercolors on a rainy day.) Your child will love spending time with you and admiring the artwork afterwards.
3. Stay up a half hour later to finish the movie
Make an exception to stay up just a little past bedtime. Bend the typical schedule every once in a while to spend more time with your child. Finish the movie, read one more book or talk a little longer about their day before tucking your children in bed.
4. Attend the school play
Your kids love showing off what they've worked hard at. Attend their school play, band concert or baseball game. Just seeing you in the crowd will mean the world to your child.
5. Look at old photos together
Teach your child about past family traditions and what life was like for their grandparents and great-grandparents. Look through some pictures of you at your child's age and show your child what he or she looked like as a baby.
6. Show off your child's artwork on the fridge
Maybe you can't even tell what the drawing is, but your child will love seeing their work proudly displayed on the fridge. When it gets too crowded, take their favorite pieces down and preserve them in a scrapbook.
7. Celebrate good grades with their favorite dessert
Celebrate their achievements, especially ones they've tried so hard to reach. The celebration can be as simple as eating their favorite dessert or as big as having a family party. Your recognition can encourage your child to keep trying to be even better and set higher goals. A parent's support means so much to children.
8. Eat dinner together
One of the best gifts you can ever give your child is time. Make an effort to eat dinner together every day. It's not just about sitting down together for a meal; it's also a time to ask your children about their day and hear how they're doing.
9. Create new traditions together
Follow some of the traditions you grew up with, but add some new ones too. Building and keeping traditions is a fun way to make your family a priority.
10. Kiss their boo-boos
Comfort them when they're sad to let your children know you'll always be there when they need you. Something as small as kissing a boo-boo is actually showing them you care about how they feel and will never hesitate to help them any way you can.
11. Read together
Reading to children strengthens their literacy ability, their language skills and the parent-child relationship. Study after study shows how reading improves the child's education and family relationships. Let your child pick out a book and make it a tradition to read together every day.
12. Hug your child goodbye
Show physical affection every day by giving your child a hug before they catch the school bus (or whenever they leave the house.) This small action of love only takes a second to do but can set a positive tone for their entire day.
13. Follow a consistent schedule
They'll never admit it, but children love consistency. It gives them structure and a sense of security. That doesn't mean the entire day needs to be planned out from the minute they open their eyes until bedtime, but try to have some daily consistency. For example, set a bedtime routine. Have your kids get in their pajamas then pile into your bed for a story.
Try filling a few of these needs for your child or come up with some of your own. Your children desperately want your love and attention, and even just a little of your time each day can have an amazing impact on your relationship.