The elementary years (roughly ages five to eleven) can be a difficult time for a parent as you strive to teach your son respect, discipline, and help build his character. You want to help him stretch himself, learn and grow, while at the same time developing a caring and meaningful relationship with him. After all, putting in the work during these younger years will help you to reap the rewards as they grow older, potentially creating more pleasant teenage years and beyond. Here are some great ways for both mom and dad to bond with their son.
Play With Him
Young boys are energetic and imaginative. It is likely your son is able to keep himself entertained for hours with nothing more than games and stories he makes up on his own. Jump into one of his games and play along, accepting the rules and realities he creates. Encourage him to be imaginative. He will love having you join his playtime as well as take his creations seriously. It will give him the confidence to continue to be creative and explore the world around him.
Get to Know His Friends
We tend to take on characteristics of those we are around the most. This makes the children your son chooses to be friends with of the utmost importance, as you want him to choose those who are going to be good influences on him. By getting to know his friends and making your home a place where they feel comfortable, you can keep an eye on his associations and show your son you remember who his friends are. It will also make him feel good that his friends are welcome in his home.
Give Him Lots of Physical Touch
Nonverbal communication is an important part of bonding with your son. Hugs throughout the day, bedtime kisses, and high fives as he does well on tasks are all great ways of showing your love for him. They are also simple and can be implemented multiple times per day. Take the time to enjoy it now before he gets “too old” for those signs of affection, especially in public.
Build Something Together
Planning and completing a project together will give you and your son quality time spent together and a common goal to work toward. You may choose to enter a Pinewood Derby competition and build your own car together. Do some research on sports cars such as these for inspiration and decide together what your car will look like. This will provide you with plenty of time to teach him new skills, improve on ones he already has or just enjoy general conversation.
Spend Alone Time With Him
Especially if he has siblings, he may have times when he does not receive all of the attention he craves. Set aside a time to spend quality time with him. This may come in the form of a mommy-son date night or a boys’ night out with dad. Take him out for his favorite meal, go to the movie he’s been dying to see, or go play catch with him in the park. These will become special memories he will carry with him for years to come.
Talk To Him
Boys tend to use a lot of nonverbal communication, but boys in this age group also tend to have a lot to say! Take the time each day to talk with him and open those lines of communication. Ask him about his day, how he is feeling, things he is excited about and find out what he is struggling with. As you make this communication a natural part of your relationship, it will help him feel comfortable coming to you as he grows older and heavier topics come up.
As a parent, childhood goes by far too quickly. You blink and suddenly your toddler is getting ready to go to middle school and the next thing you know he is off to college. Take the time to bond with your son and a create deep, valuable relationship that will carry over through all stages of life. Your efforts will bring greater joy and harmony to your home now and for many years to come.