How To Teach Your Child About Meaningful Relationships

At a time where so many of our children’s favourite activities and past-times involve things, it has never been more important to highlight the importance of the people in their lives.

At a time where so many of our children’s favourite activities and past-times involve things, it has never been more important to highlight the importance of the people in their lives. Friendships can very easily become focused on those that they meet via screens. They look forward to watching their favourite TV show character or competing against someone anonymous on the internet. It is really important to highlight the difference between these connections and real-life relationships.

One way we can do that is to really highlight the importance of meaningful relationships in their life. We can guide them by explaining and showing, in simple terms, the value that these relationships bring to their world. Equally, we can show them the value of our own relationships throughout our adult lives as children really do mimic what they see.

Here are some really simple ideas to help you reinforce the importance of meaningful connections and relationships in your child’s life.

1. Encouraging play-dates as often as possible. It is magical to witness your child build excitement when they know they will be seeing their good friend very soon. That anticipation and excitement is really powerful because the emphasis is on a person rather than a toy, product or game.

2. When reading your children stories, particularly at bedtime, make little comments about the relationships. For example “how kind of that little boy to share his toys with the other boy at school” or “he’s worried because his friend is not feeling very well, that makes him a good friend doesn’t it?”. It will encourage your child to think about the relationships and people in these stories rather than just the themes and colourful pages.

3. Be mindful of your own relationships and how you portray them to your child. Do you and your partner regularly fight in front of them? Do they equally see you laughing, hugging and enjoying each others company? Which behaviours have been normalised as this is the impression that your child will grow up learning to replicate.

4. Talk about the people in your child’s life and the things they offer. You could mention their teacher at school and how they love to help them learn about numbers, shapes and puzzles. You might mention that they really care about your child and feel super proud when they look at your child’s homework. Your child will come to recognise that person as a positive supportive figure in their lives. You might also talk about how much their grandparents care about them and how greatly they can trust them.

5. Consider screen time. Try to encourage TV shows and games which have a positive focus on team work, friendships and trust. Some of the shows your child may be watching could be teaching them some negative associations regarding people and interactions and you may not even realize it. Screen time can be really helpful but also damaging in this way. It is also important to ensure that screen time does not replace real life interactions, fresh air and face to face communication as these are all life skills that your child will rely upon in later life.

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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