1.Eat together as often as possible, the whole family if you can. This gives great opportunities to discuss plans, discover new and developing issues, demonstrate that what your child has to say, their opinion is important and valued Etc. It also improves your child’s communication skills.
2.Allow them to help around the house, you may need to encourage! Does your 10 year old know how to use a screwdriver or paint brush? Where to put the bins out for collection day?
3.Hug them regularly. It releases beneficial chemicals for both of you.
4.Don’t let rifts build up. Discuss the issue at hand in a calm fashion. It often helps if you can agree the terms of the discussion before you start especially if it is an emotive issue. ‘Can we talk about how much time you spend playing on your Xbox? Can we do this without either of us walking out or getting angry? Perhaps we can talk while we are walking the dog.’
5.Remember to give praise when it is due…and sometimes when it is isn’t!
6.Make time to talk to your child and give them devoted time. Perhaps Sunday mornings you can diarise an hour of ‘you and me ‘time and agree in advance what you are going to do (cook pancakes for breakfast with naughty melted chocolate, go for a run together, let them share their favourite videos on YouTube with you). This can be difficult with more than one child but you could do it in a group each sibling taking turns to choose the activity weekly.
7.Teach the meaning of mutual respect and practise it.
8.When asking them to do something explain why it is important and the potential outcomes of doing it or not doing it. Encourage smart/healthy choices.
9.Accept that they are changing fast and facing new or different challenges every day. Life for them will not always be easy and they will often find it difficult to ask for your support.
10.Tell them you love them and that nothing they can do will ever change that.