As parents, we all want to have a strong-as-steel bond with our child. A deep connection that can never be broken. Parenting is the scariest job in the world because your heart now knows a love greater than you ever imagined.

You want to be as perfect as possible for your little person but no one is perfect and life has a lovely way of throwing us constant curve balls. Not to mention, kids having a unique way of pushing buttons we didn’t even know we had. We worry if we’re doing enough, being enough.

I assure you, you are! But if you ever question yourself, like all good parents do, keep these 20 tips in your back pocket and you’ll always have a strong and unbreakable bond with your child.

Listen To Them

Sounds basic, I know. But we must really listen to our kids, with our full attention, so that they know they are important and that we care about what they have to say. It will also encourage them to always talk to us, about anything.

Another benefit is that it helps us to figure out the root of the problem when they’re upset. Many meltdowns can be avoided if we’re in tune with their needs.

Put Down The Phone

This is a big one for me. I’m ashamed to admit that my phone is like an extra extremity to me, in part because I do a lot of work on it. I’m happy to say that I’m making a serious effort to be sure that the phone goes down when we’re talking, or interacting in any way, and that I’m giving her my full attention. It ties into listening above. It’s so very important to really listen to our kids so they know that what they have say and how they feel is valuable.

Aim For 12 Hugs Every Day

I read this one in an article on psychologytoday.com and I love it! Physical contact with our kids is so important! It doesn’t have to be hug, just any form of physical affection. A quick smooch, some sunggling…Just a moment to express your love to your little one.

Include Them In Your Daily Activities

Things do still need to be done throughout the day however, there are some tasks your child can help with without creating much, shall we say… undoing. Holding the dust pan to help you sweep, “folding” a couple towels, “dusting”, etc… It will make them feel important and like they’re really contributing. It can turn the mundane household chores into more fun for both of you.

Make a keepsake Box

Hold on to little mementos from things you and your child have done together and create a special box for the items that mean something to just the two of you. Shells from the beach, a picture they made you, a special toy. Anything at all that is special to the two of you, no matter how small. Every now and then, go through it together and enjoy reminiscing about the wonderful moments you’ve shared.

Create a special routine

Choose something the two of you love to do together and make it a point to do it every day. A special book, a song, coloring. Anything you can do, just the two of you, to spend some good quality time together. Even if it’s just 20 minutes, it’ll be something you can both look forward to every day.

Give in once in a while

Occasionally give in and let them do something you’d normally discourage. Nothing major but something like playing in the rain, busting out the Play-Doh or letting them stay up a little longer. It will be like a l little treat to them and feel super special.

Show compassion when they’re emotional

This one can be sooo hard. You wouldn’t think it would be difficult to be compassionate when your child is upset but when they’re having a massive meltdown over putting on socks, let me tell you… it’s hard to keep you cool.

I know I’m struggling with it a lot and I wish I could say that I always manage to stay calm but parents are human and sometimes, our emotions are overwhelming too.

All we can do is try as hard as we can to keep from losing our patience as much as possible and rein ourselves in quickly when we do so it doesn’t get out of hand. I know this one is a toughie but we just need to try our very best. It will mean so much if we can show that we understand and and feel for them rather than getting irritated or angry when they’re flipping out for “no reason”. There’s always a reason, it just doesn’t always make sense to us.

Get a mani-pedi

If your daughter is old enough, a great mother-daughter outing is to get a mani-pedi or have a little spa day. She’ll feel on top of the world for getting to do such a big -girl thing.

If you have a son, take him somewhere special. A movie he’s been wanting to see, his favorite store to get a special toy or item he’s been wanting, a trampoline park. Anything out of the ordinary that you wouldn’t do on the average day.

Sing and dance

Sounds pretty simple but if I know anything about toddlers, it’s that they love music and dancing. My daughter sings pretty much all day and sometimes even in her sleep! Putting on some music and boppin’ around the house will absolutely make their day!

Be playful

Another one from psychologytoday.com. They make an excellent point here. Your child is far more likely to cooperate if you ask them to do something in a playful way rather than ordering or making demands.

They give the example:

Which is likely to work better? “Come eat your breakfast now!” or “Little gorilla, it’s time for breakfast – Look, you have bugs and bananas on your oatmeal!”

You can bet I’ll definitely be putting this one into motion asap!

Teach them something new

Head out to the store and pick up an educational game, a blocks or Legos set or some crafts and dive into something new with them. Or better yet, go through their toys books and games. If you’re anything like us, you’re bound to have a few things that have gotten tucked away somehow and have been forgotten.

Maybe something that was given to you that your child wasn’t into or ready for yet. I know this has happened to us a few times, then we come across it and are really excited to have something new and different to explore. It’s a nice change of pace.

Tell them something you love about their personality

Give them a genuine compliment (or three) about who they are as a person. Their outstanding manners, kind heart, the way they never give up. I’m sure you have a boatload to choose from! It will make them feel so good about themselves and they’ll be over the moon that you noticed all their beautiful qualities.10 awesome parenting posts guaranteed to put a smile on your face

Get outside

Gardening, long walks, bike riding. Whatever your favorite outdoor activity, being outside with your child is always a great way to connect. I particularly love gardening, (not because I’m any good at it, ha!) but because it’s a wonderful way to spend time together and show your kids how they can grow something with their own two hands. When they see those tomatoes come up, they’ll be so proud of themselves!

Tag/chase games

I found some great ideas for this on lifelearningtoday.com. They give this link for some great variations on chase games. http://www.gameskidsplay.net/games/chasing_games/index.htm

It’s always a lot of fun and great exercise to chase your little ones around, and they’ll love it!

Cooking/baking together

Like gardening, this is another one where you can work on something together and be proud of the end result. Cooking is an awesome way to connect. You can talk while you roll meatballs or cookies and they’ll feel great about contributing to the family meal or special treat. This is one of my personal favorites because I love to cook/bake and my daughter is at the age now (2 1/2) where she’s always wanting to help. I love it!

Sorting play

I came across this on lifelearningtoday.com and I think its pretty cool. They suggest two ways. 1) Gather some different objects like blocks, toy cars, stuffed animals, coins, spoons and ask, “How should we sort these?” Then ask if they can be sorted another way. 2) Have your child help you with sorting real household items such as sorting laundry, silverware or toys. I think kids would love this and it would exercise their mind.

Volunteer together

Volunteering is one of the most amazing things you can do with your little ones! Kids already love to help out and make others happy, they have such loving hearts. I can’t think of a better way to bond with your child than by helping others. There are lots of wonderful and meaningful ways (many very simple) that you can give back in your community. Even if it’s someone you know. Maybe a friend or someone in the family is sick or just had surgery and needs help around the house. Or you could bring them a home cooked meal. I can promise that you will both feel fabulous after working together to help someone who needs it.

Play catch

Toss or roll a ball back and forth. My daughter loves to do this before bedtime for some reason. We have one if those big puffer balls and she loves to use that. It’s soft and bouncy, great for sitting on the floor and rolling back and forth. It’s a nice, mellow activity to just sit and be together and chat.

Make bedtime count

No matter how the day has gone, take the time before bed to be closest to your child. Snuggle them, tell them how much you love them and point out things you really enjoyed doing with them throughout the day. On sheknows.com, Kim Grundy mentions asking bedtime bonding questions. Ask questions like:

“What is the best thing that happened to you today?”

“What is the worst thing that happened to you today?”

“What is the silliest thing that happened to you today?”

I love this! Great questions and bedtime is the perfect time for bonding. Leave them with loving, happy thoughts before they drift off to sleep.

I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this and I hope these ideas have sparked an interest with you. We want to be as close as possible to our children, ensuring that they know they can always come to us no matter what.

We do our very best to be sure that they know how much we love them every second of every day. But  with how crazy life can get, it’s nice to have a little cheat sheet in your back pocket. 😉

What are your some of your favorite ways to express your love to your children? Help me grow the list!  There can never be too many! ❤