5 Ideas To Help Foster An Even Deeper Connection With Your Kids

Activities and mindsets to help them flourish.
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We get it – there’s only so many hours in the day to juggle work, friendships, fitness, in-laws, self-care and of course, your kids. We know exactly what it’s like to rush frazzled from home to school to work to school to sports to dinner to bath to bed. But making quality time for your pint-sized monikers can be the best investment you’ll ever make – in their happiness, and yours.

Being “in the moment” with your kids and creating positive, nurturing spaces for them to express themselves, laugh, grow, learn and explore will not only strengthen your bond, but build their confidence, sense of self, emotional intelligence, and understanding of the world around them.

Here are some meaningful and mindful ways to connect with your little ones this weekend.

1. Create Special Rituals

Family rituals are special things you do regularly with your loved ones. They help kids feel that the world is a safe and predictable place and gives them something to look forward to. It might be something super simple like an ice-cream after school, or “Friday Netflix movie night”. The key is making it enjoyable. Make popcorn for your movie night, add snuggly cushions, dim the lights (a la at-home cinema experience) and pick a flick that’s entertaining for you both. Think action, laughter, deeper storylines and inspiring themes that prompt discussion afterwards.

Our pick: Schedule a date with your kids as ‘Back To The Outback’ is now streaming only on Netflix.The all-star Aussie cast includes marie claire cover star Isla Fisher, as well as Tim Minchin and Eric Bana portraying a gang of wildly understood zoo animals. The homegrown, humour-packed flick is a love letter to anyone who’s felt like an outsider, or uncomfortable with who they are. The overarching theme of “ugly is the new beautiful” is bound to warm your hearts. 

Isla Fisher plays the voice of Maddie in Netflix's 'Back To The Outback'
Isla Fisher plays the voice of Maddie in Netflix’s ‘Back To The Outback’ (Credit: Getty/Netflix)

2. Allow them to talk

We get it: it’s easy to get caught up in the belief that we know better (errr, because we do). But it’s worth reminding yourself that it’s okay not to have all the answers, particularly for some of the tougher questions. Instead, let your kid speak. When they ask if “it’s important to be beautiful”, you can turn it back on them: What do they think is beautiful? You’ll encourage your child to think (briefly) about the deeper issues in life, while side-swerving answering a question that—let’s be real—none of us have the answer for. Win-win.

Our advice? Listen with empathy, your full attention, and while resisting the urge to interrupt.

3. Encourage them to design their day

Give your kids the reins by letting them design a day out with you. What does it look like when they’re in the driver’s seat? They might suggest hitting the zoo to discover deadly native reptiles (which are really just misunderstood), have a picnic at the park, or go for a bike ride.

This “choose your own adventure” approach will empower your child with the ability to make decisions, think independently and build confidence. It’s also a sneak peek into what they deem fun (as opposed to our preconceived ideas), so make sure “go with the flow” and relinquish some control (within reason, of course!).

4. Play with them

We’ve all been there – hit the park and had the phone glued to our ear for the entire time, feigning interest in sandcastles and slides. But playtime is actually a vital part of childhood, and while it might be easier to watch from afar, there are strong benefits to getting involved and playing with your child.

Parent-child play can help the development of skills including creativity, memory, motor skills, cognitive flexibility, regulation of emotions, and leadership skills. It’s also a lot of fun, for everyone involved! If playgrounds aren’t your thing, use your imagination (or let your child design the play). How about pillow fights, building a fort, playing hide and seek, painting, cooking, building blocks, performing a show (you know you want to bust out your microphone and sing Adele), or let them design their own game.

5. Show affection

A parent’s love goes a long way. How you interact affectionately with your child can do wonders for their well-being and health both in the moment, and for years to come.

Kids crave daily attention and affection and showing them love with appropriate physical touch and affirmative words will allow them to feel safe, cared for and important. In turn, this goes on to greatly affect their happiness, self-acceptance and social relationships.

This could be cuddles every day, kisses when dropping them off at school, making rituals such as tickling their back at bedtime, and reminding them that they are loved by you and their entire family.

And one more tip for the road… To celebrate the launch of Back to the Outback this December, Netflix is bringing the Outback to Sydney. Popping up at the Entertainment Quarter on December 18 and 19, The Back to the Outback Park is an immersive family experience featuring escape courses, live reptiles and unique activities designed to take kids on a journey through the awesome environments featured in the film while they explore creativity, curiosity, confidence and courage. Back to the Outback Park has been thoughtfully designed to elevate your family’s Back to the Outback viewing experience, either at home or in cinemas, by celebrating inner beauty and acceptance. Register for your tickets via Eventopia. 

Brought to you by Netflix.

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