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Show Your Kid They Matter

Maximize short bursts of time together to really bond with your kids.

Can five minutes really improve your relationship with your kid?  It can!

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Why is this important?
Mattering is a belief that we can make a difference in the world around us.

It only takes five to 20 minutes for a kid to feel loved and secure. Kids thrive on short bursts of consistent, undivided attention, and since they have short attention spans, this brief time together is really satisfying.

You’ve connected and now you’re each going to do your own thing for a while.You’re showing your kid they matter. Mattering is the belief that we make a difference in the world around us. It’s measured by responses to these questions:

  • How important am I to others?
  • How interested are others in what I have to say?
  • How much do other people depend on me?
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The science behind it.

Letting your kid know they matter develops a strong bond, known as secure attachment. Learning science confirms this leads to success not only in school, but also in life. Recognizing the importance of secure attachment, the Search Institute put together a five-element framework that supports parents’ efforts with 20 specific actions. That may seem like a lot, but taken in short bursts of time, they’re great ways to interact with your kid in a really positive way. We summarize this framework in the next section.

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How do I show my kid they matter?
5 ways to show your kid they matter in 5 minutes includes checking in, the power behaviors, goal setting, respect and decision making and following their curisosity.

Find ways to incorporate short bursts of connection into the day. In the morning, linger a few minutes over breakfast to check in on how your kid is feeling. Take periodic breaks between conference calls for quick conversations. Close out the work/school day with a wrap-up on how things have been going to confirm your connection.

Whenever you do connect, use the Search Institute framework to make the most of your time together:

  1. Show kids they matter to you by … Listening. Being dependable. Believing in them. Encouraging them. Being warm. Use Check-In/Check-Out every morning and evening
  2. Push them to keep getting better by … Expecting them to live up to their potential. Holding them accountable. Reflecting on their failures. Use the five power behaviors of a self-directed learner to help your kids power through.
  3. Help them complete tasks and achieve goals by … Guiding them through hard situations. Building their confidence. Standing up for them. Setting boundaries. Use the Self-Directed Learning Cycle to achieve goals 
  4. Treat them with respect and give them a say by … Taking them seriously. Involving them in decisions. Letting them lead. Using consensus to give kids the opportunity to participate in decision-making.
  5. Connect them with people and places that broaden their world by … Inspiring them to see possibilities for the future. Expose them to new ideas, experiences, and places. Use Expose, Explore, Pursue to follow kids’ curiosity, and find new interests and passions.
A mom and son in California talking with each other.