Parents are very busy these days with work, financial worries, and many other stresses.  As a result, parents are not spending as much time with their children.  Being attentive and responsive to your child provides him or her with a loving and secure relationship. The relationship you have with your child is the foundation for other relationships in his or her life.  The way you interact with your child should establish a sense of comfort and helps establish a sense of security between the two of you. There is a really important period when parents should form a secure relationship with their child.  This period, which is during the first two years, is critical for the child’s social and emotional

Bonding should be an experience, writes Silva Clark.  She says, “Bonding needs an experience to happen, not sitting and watching TV. Do something exciting! Yes, you can go on a bike ride. But is that bonding? Instead, have a race with your child (on a safe path) or ride down a grassy hill, or go over a jump.  You are just doing something that will have your child saying, ‘Remember, Mom, when we rode our bike through the creek? That was awesome” (Grundy).  Bonding with your child creates memories that he or she will remember for life.

A study from the University of Iowa found that “infants who have a close, intimate relationship with a parent are less likely to be troubled, aggressive or experience other emotional and behavioral problems when they reach school age” (Lewis).  The researchers also found that being close to only one parent is good enough to get the benefits of stable emotions and behavior.  As this study shows, the less a child has bonded with one parent, the more likely he or she is to experience emotional and behavioral problems.

Ways to bond with your children:

  • Read a book to them at night.  This can become a night-time ritual with you and your child.
  • Sing, play nursery rhymes and play games with your child.  Any kind of activity that requires the child to respond to the parent is important.
  • Hug your child and show affection.  
  • Invest quality time with your child where you are actively engaged in an activity together.
  • When you talk to your child, get down and talk on his or her level.
  • Make eye contact with your child.
  • Allow your child to be independent.  Do not force them to do anything.
  • Encourage your child

Caution: While it is very important to bond with your child, do not over-bond and smother your child.   You may begin to feel guilty if you do not have enough time to spend with him or her. Over-bonding with your child can create co-dependency and your child will not be empowered to do things alone.  Therefore, it is up to you to maintain a balance of bonding, while at the same time allowing your child to explore alone.