A great parent-child relationship may be described as one where there is a strong bond built on mutual love, affection, trust, and respect. This type of positive relationship is one that typically provides physical and emotional security in a nurturing environment. It helps the child mature into a well-rounded adult with a good sense of self-esteem.

However, establishing a great relationship with your child is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment. Some parents begin this journey as early as when the child is in the womb by having conversations or reading to the unborn baby.

5 Tips for developing a great parent and child relationship

If you are a parent having challenges getting to understand and relate to your child, these 5 tips can help you to build a positive relationship.

1. Be available and present

It can be difficult to have a great relationship with your child if you are not living in the same home. Being present means to be physically and emotionally there to meet the needs of the child. Being present gives you an opportunity to get to know your child—what they like, dislike, hobbies, how they react, and the way they manage their emotions.

Studies show that children whose primary caregiver (in most cases the mother) was immersed in their lives and meeting their needs from birth tend to grow up into well-rounded individuals with a secure attachment style.  This improves their chances of developing healthy relationships throughout all stages of life.

2. Be actively involved

No matter how busy you are with work or other commitments, you should make a conscious effort to be involved in your child’s life daily. Even if it is for 1-2 hours a day, it will give you an opportunity to strengthen the connection between you two. Consider getting on the floor and playing with young children in fun and exciting ways. Find out how their day was, help with homework, drive them to sports practice, and attend school meetings.

Also, allow them to help you with small tasks around the house. These moments of quality time can spark conversations and give your child many opportunities to talk about things that concern them. If you have more than one child, you can take turns to ensure each child’s individual needs are being met.

3. Allow two-way communication

When you engage in conscious parenting, you provide a platform for teaching and practicing good communication. This means you are mindful of having age-appropriate conversations with your child and actively listen to what your child has to say.

Practice eye contact, be non-judgmental, show compassion, mind your tone and attitude, and give them your undivided attention when they speak. This will help you to better understand and meet their needs. Express your love generously and validate their feelings. And don’t be afraid to get down to eye level. By doing this, you let them know you respect them.

4. Be a parent they can trust

Trust is everything when it comes to cultivating a great relationship with your child and building it should begin from the time they are born. Every time you pick up and soothe your baby when he or she cries, you engender a sense of trust. They know they can depend on you to meet their needs.

You can also develop trustworthiness by following through with promises. When you do what you say you’ll do, your child will feel confident that they can rely on you. Also, respect their privacy and maintain their confidence in matters they ask you to keep private.

5. Give freedom to develop independence

Fostering a great parent-child relationship includes allowing your child to have a sense of freedom and independence to explore and discover things on his or her own. Giving them space is healthy and good for their mental and emotional development. It allows them to detach, take on challenges, find solutions, make decisions for themselves, and enjoy themselves in their own world.

While young children should also be allowed time to explore and discover new things, they should do so in a safe environment under parental supervision.