Maximize short bursts of time together to show your kid they matter

Skills & Habits


Maximize short bursts of time together to show your kid they matter

Social distancing is challenging. We’re not only trying to balance home/work/school, but we’re together 24/7. We’re definitely making connections with our kids, but how good are they? Maximize short bursts of time together to deepen your relationship with your kid. 

It only takes five to 20 minutes for a kid to feel loved and secure. They 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.

Find ways to incorporate these bursts 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.

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?

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 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. 

  • Show me I matter to you by… listening. Being dependable. Believing in me. Encouraging me. Being Warm.
  • Push me to keep getting better by… expecting me to live up to my potential. Holding me accountable. Reflecting on my failures. 
  • Help me complete tasks and achieve goals by… guiding me through hard situations. Building my confidence. Standing up for me. Setting boundaries. 
  • Treat me with respect and give me a say by… taking me seriously. Involving me in decisions. Letting me lead. 
    • Use consensus to give kids the opportunity to participate in decision-making.  
  • Connect me with people and places that broaden my world by… inspiring me to see possibilities for my future. Expose me to new ideas, experiences, and places. 
    • Use Expose, Explore, Pursue to follow kids' curiosity, and find new interests and passions.