Wedgwood Christian Services Found One Simple Trick to Building  an Amazing Relationship With Your Kids

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Boosting Our Kids’ Mental Health is More Important Than Ever

Wedgwood Christian Services, a leader in Grand Rapids counseling, has watched the demand for mental health services explode over the last few years. 

To help, they have tips for families to start the healing at home. 

The state of youth mental health has been declared a national emergency, thanks in part to the long-lasting effects of the pandemic and the rise in social media use.

It’s incredibly important for us as parents and caregivers to be intentional in doing all we can to empower kids, build resiliency, and develop healthy coping skills.

Wedgwood Christian Services 10 minutes dad and tween play chess

Wedgwood loves helping families develop these strategies and build bonds between caregivers and children and they’ve seen great results with a simple at-home practice that they’re sharing with us.

Spending 10 Intentional Minutes a Day With Your Kids can Change Everything

One of the best ways to connect with your children is to spend time with them. Wedgwood says that just 10 intentional minutes is all it takes.

Notice the word intentional. Our devices demand our attention constantly and it’s easy to get caught up in checking texts while talking to kids, watching videos while making dinner and posting pictures on Instagram.

“Be in the same room together,” says Michelle Roberts, LMSW, and a clinician at Wedgwood Christian Services. “Put the phone down. Be present, physically and mentally.”

What if you and your kids tried each day to put down the screens and be fully present?

Research shows that spending just 10 intentional minutes per day will improve your relationship with your kids as well as their mental health (and yours, too!).

“Prioritize the quality of your time over the quantity of time,” says Roberts.

How to Practice Ten Intentional Minutes With Young Kids

Roberts’ advice to get started is simple.

Above all else, take the pressure off! Start by picking a consistent time each day to spend these intentional minutes with your kids.

“We so often feel like we have to have some big activity,” reflects Roberts. But it’s not about what you do together.

Rather than you trying to find something to do together, it can be easier to start by simply joining in with your kids.

If they’re playing a video game, join in. Ask them how to play. Build up to getting off the screen.  

Eventually, those ten intentional minutes should not be on a screen. Things with a sensory component are ideal. Think  Legos, board games or coloring. Your brain needs the screen break as well as theirs. 

The end goal is to do an activity that you enjoy doing as well as your child. That way you will look forward to one-on-one time together, too. 

The point of these 10 intentional minutes is to create shared experiences with your child that will stay with them for their whole lives.

“Put your phone down and make good eye contact with them,” advises Roberts. “Let them know they are important to you.”

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How to Connect With Tweens & Teens

While it can be easy to think of things to do with younger kids, tweens and teens can be more challenging.

Let them take the lead. Anything you can do in tandem with tweens and teens is valuable.

Simple things like going for a walk around the block, cooking dinner together or baking cookies together can be good activities for this age group.

“Going on an after-dinner walk together could become a new ritual,” suggests Roberts.

Don’t force them to talk to you. Just being present with them and showing them that you want to spend time with them can go a long way.

Another method to connect with this age group is to just have times where your phone is put away, whether it’s while you’re making dinner or for an hour or so afterwards.

When the phone is gone, it’s a sign that you’re approachable.

“Just be available to them.”

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Tips for Talking to Your Kids

These 10 intentional minutes together is a time where you want your kids to feel safe talking to you. 

But how do you get your kids to open up? 

“Don’t just ask them how their day was,” recommends Roberts. “Really listen to them and watch what they’re doing.”

Her suggestions for conversation starters include: 

  • What are you looking forward to?
  • Who did you eat lunch with today?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What was the best part of your day?

Having these real, meaningful conversations with your kids will lead to better mental health. You will be able to catch the warning signs of anxiety sooner. You can normalize getting help and talking about your feelings.

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Ten Intentional Minutes Builds Healthy Attachments

As humans, we’re biologically wired to seek attention. As parents, we know that if our kids aren’t feeling like they’re getting enough positive attention, they will seek negative attention. 

Spending 10 intentional minutes with them will give them that positive attention they crave. 

Daniel J. Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry, developed “The Four Ss of Healthy Attachment:”

  • safe
  • seen
  • soothe
  • secure

Spending uninterrupted time with your kids leads to building a connection that makes them feel safe -both physically and psychologically. 

Kids feel seen when you take the time to look at life through their lens. It’s about learning who they are and what’s important to them. 

Soothe is helping kids to deal with their emotions – the good and the bad, the big and the small.

When your kids feel protected and unafraid of expressing their Big Feelings, they feel secure. This leads to better self-regulation. 

When you spend 10 intentional minutes with each of your kids, you are building safe and healthy attachments. 

Wedgwood family playing board game

The Benefits Will Last a Lifetime

As you spend more time with your children, you will be laying the foundation for a healthy relationship for the long term. 

Spending these 10 minutes together where your child feels safe talking to you about the small stuff will allow them to feel comfortable coming to you about the big stuff. 

This special time together will also establish that you are a safe person and they are important to you.

About Wedgwood Christian Services

Wedgwood Christian Services is always there to help support you and your family. 

As a Christian nonprofit organization, Wedgwood provides a wide range of social services to meet the needs of the Grand Rapids community.

Their Outpatient Counseling and Psychiatry Services has immediate openings for all ages, kids through adults. 

Most insurances are accepted.

Contact Wedgwood Christian Services today to get started!

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Wedgwood Christian Services

Featured Partner

3300 36th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
(616) 942-2110 

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