5 Easy Ways to Connect With Your Kids

By Megan Epperson

What is the opposite of addiction? You may be surprised to know that the opposite of addiction is connection. Addiction expert, Johann Hari says, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.” With so much of life consisting of high-speed internet connections and social media “likes,” it isn’t surprising that humankind is losing touch with what should be closely connected relationships with the people that matter most. Family connections take time and effort to maintain. Ditch the high-speed internet connection and switch to low-speed family connection. The following are 5 easy ideas to help parents connect with their kids to prevent or overcome addiction.

1. Disconnect

Disconnect to connect? Sounds counterintuitive, right? What we’re talking about here is intentionally unplugging and disconnecting from electronic devices from time to time. Turn off your ringer, disable notifications, and silence your cell phone. Taking time to disconnect from devices will allow for more time to connect with your children, which is far more valuable than missing a few emails or texts. Those other things can wait, but your family is only with you for so long. 

2. Talk With Them

Be present in your children’s lives. Ask them questions about school, sports, their friends, and anything else they are involved in. Come up with more interesting questions than the typical “How was your day?” line to really get them thinking and actually engaging in a conversation. A great resource for ideas of mindful discussions to have with your children is our book , which is available on Amazon

3. Spend Time in the Kitchen Together

Everyone gets hungry; so why not prepare a snack, meal, or treat together? It’s amazing how connections are strengthened while doing ordinary things. Letting your kids help you in the kitchen provides many benefits. Among math skills, fine motor skills, reading, focus, and exposure to scientific concepts, family bonding, in my opinion, is the most beneficial. When parents and children work in the kitchen to prepare food they can talk together and bond over the food that is being made. Think of how you can tell stories of Great-Grandma making the best pot of hot chocolate on a cold and rainy day as you let your child stir the cocoa and sugar together. Talk about how Grandpa grew a vegetable garden each year and how you got to eat the most delicious food in the summer which was made using his harvest as you chop tomatoes and zucchini. This kind of quality time not only will fill your bellies but will also fill your hearts with beautiful family connection.

4. Snuggle

Whether it’s letting them choose a movie on the weekend, making popcorn, and snuggling together, or giving them a giant squeeze every day, grab them and show them some affection. Physical affection can speak volumes more than your words can. When kids are having a hard day they may just want a hug. When they’ve had a long week, they may just want to be close to you on the couch. Whatever the life situation, being physically close can mean a lot to your child. 

5. Ask Their Advice

Our kids are probably more wise than we may give them credit for. When asked for suggestions they can have some great ideas. It’s okay for your kids to know that you don’t always have it all together. Asking your children for help lets them know that you have struggles, too. It also lets them know that it’s okay, and actually really good, to ask for help and advice. Do you have a hard time with your boss sometimes? Do you wonder how to help a neighbor? Do you need help with dinner ideas for the week? Ask them. You might be surprised at what they come up with. Including them in making appropriate decisions helps them to know they are wanted and valued.

Creating and maintaining close connections with your kids can help prevent and overcome addiction. No matter what your kids’ ages are, finding simple and easy ways to foster a sense of connection is very beneficial to cultivating and maintaining a happy, healthy connection with them. Be intentional about your desire to be close with them. Take time to disconnect from media and to connect with them in simple and natural ways, and you will see great benefits in your relationship for years to come. For more helpful ideas on topics you can discuss with your kids as you raise them in the digital age, check out our book, Conversations with My Kids, on Amazon.

Megan Epperson is a happy wife to an incredible husband and mother of four wonderful children. She enjoys spending time with her family while camping, hiking, playing games, and making meals together. She truly enjoys the teenage years with her children. Megan is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho pursuing a Marriage and Family Studies degree. She is passionate about forming and maintaining healthy relationships and raising capable, empowered children.

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