Time. Precious time. Parenting experts, psychologists, therapists all agree: the evidence shows that spending time with your child is key to building a better relationship. Our Fegans’ counsellors say: “Try to make time each week to spend some gadget-free time with each child individually.”
“When we work with parents with younger children we ask them to spend 10 minutes per day doing child-led play. Get down on their level. This is a very effective way of building a relationship with your child and parents are always smiling when they report back to us on their experiences.”
“A simple technique we share with parents is what we call “descriptive commenting”. If you comment on what the child is doing – as opposed to question it or give direction – you are showing that you are part of their world, you are talking an interest in them. One father recounted to me how he decided to try the technique with his toddler who was playing in the bath. It didn’t come naturally but he made that first step. “Oh, look at how the water splashes when you pour it through the sieve!” he commented to his child. At that moment the child’s entire body language altered. He turned to look at his father, absolutely beaming, and the connection was made. The response to something so simple can be quite dramatic.”
“With teenagers, we need to work a bit harder, and we would suggest one to two hours per week one-to-one. This could be a coffee/hot chocolate, breakfast out, a dog walk, anything that gives opportunity for conversation. Keep it relaxed. Don’t make it an interrogation. Give them space and they will open up in their own time. Check out our conversation starters
“Our 24/7 culture can have a negative impact on family life and make it hard to find and create time. Try to set some boundaries such as no phones at mealtimes or agree to have some gadget-free time on holiday to spend doing something together as a family.”
We promise you that children will not forget these precious times – and neither will you.