Building strong connections at every age and stage

What is connection?

To feel seen. To feel loved. To feel validated, secure, understood.

Children want and need connection at every stage of their lives. For parents and carers, connecting with children is one of the most powerful ways to boost their learning, development and wellbeing.

It’s not just about being physically present – it’s also about being emotionally available. And it doesn’t always mean getting that connection perfectly right every time or having hours of uninterrupted time to build it.

Instead, strong connections with children can be as much about little moments that all add up and have a lasting, positive impact.

Why is connection important?

Connecting with children has a profound impact on their lives, boosting their development, social skills and confidence, along with their ability to handle difficulties and regulate their emotions. It helps them develop skills they can carry with them into adulthood.

Connection also provides children with a sense of safety and security, which is vital for their overall wellbeing.

The experience of connection with parents and carers provides a solid foundation for them to confidently explore the world even when they're not in your presence. It also helps shape their view of the world and relationships with others around them.

What are some of the challenges of connecting with children?

As a parent or carer, it can be tough to know when and how to build a connection with your baby, child or teenager.

Sometimes life can get in the way, and we find ourselves too busy to be fully present. Other times, we might struggle with personal, parenting or work challenges that make it hard to connect or stay connected.

It can be helpful to think of connection as a series of small things or moments, rather than one big thing that you must do. And it's never too early or too late to keep building it.

Bonding with babies

Becoming a parent is a huge change and it's normal to feel overwhelmed as you adjust. After all, when a baby is born, a parent is born too. You’re getting to know your baby, and they’re getting to know you. There’s a lot of learning to do together!

Learn more about everyday ways to connect and bond with babies. Read our article: Bonding With Babies: Nurturing Your Connection

Connecting with children

From simply listening to children and showing interest in their lives, to warmly setting boundaries and being consistent. Regular, positive acts of connection can help them thrive now, and into their adult years.

Explore simple ways to build strong connections with children. Read our article: Five Ways to Build Meaningful Connections with Children

Staying connected with pre-teens and teens (10-16)

As children enter new stages of learning, development and independence, it can be tough to know how to connect. The good news is, there are ways to bridge those communication gaps, build trust and keep your connection going strong.

Explore ways to stay connected while respecting their autonomy. Read more: Tact, Timing, Tuning In: Communicating with Teenagers and Pre-teens

Build strong, positive connections in your family

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