Building a strong relationship with our children is so important. Here are 10 ways to bond with your son that will help you stay close as he gets older.
10 Ways to Bond With Your Son
It has been over 14 years since I became a mom of boys. When I only had one or maybe two boys, spending time bonding with them individually wasn’t that difficult. But now that we have added two more to the family, I really have to make a conscious effort to nurture my relationship with each of my boys in a way that is individualized to them because they are each so different.
Also Check Out These Other Posts about Raising Boys:
- Mother and Son Date Ideas
- 10 Tips forRaising Confident Boys
- How to Teach Your Son to Be a Gentleman
- How to Keep Your Sanity While Raising Energetic Boys
Here are 10 ways to bond with your son as well as ways that moms in my Moms of Boys community are finding to bond with their sons.
1. Be in the Moment
Thanks to modern technology, the world is literally at our fingertips. Computers and other electronics have become such a large part of our lives and the lives of our kids, that we can’t imagine getting by without them. But, the constant stream of information into our minds often leaves us in a state of perpetual distraction. Make a plan as a family to unplug at a certain time each night. Spend that time discussing the day, playing games, going outside, etc. Live in the moment, without the commotion of the online world.
2. Get Lost in a Book Together
Books take you on adventures to far-off places. Why not experience those adventures with your son. Find an exciting book that he enjoys and read it together out loud. Take the time to stop and ask questions as you read. You might be surprised to hear your sons’ interpretation of the story.
Here are some of our favorite books to read together for younger boys:
Magic Tree HouseOrigami YodaHenry and MudgeThe Henry and Ribsy
And my older boys love these:
Harry PotterPercy JacksonFablehavenThe Chronicles of Narnia
3. Go Fishing
Spend time at the lake in nature fishing. It’s amazing what your children will tell you and it is a great time to get to know them on a deeper level. Plus, it is cheap entertainment.
4. Cook Up Some Fun in the Kitchen
From the time my boys could stand up on a stool, they have been helping me in the kitchen. Some of my favorite bonding moments have happened over pancake flipping and cookie decorating. I learned a long time ago that the memories are well worth the mess and my boys are learning life-skills that they will need when they leave the house and are on their own.
These are some of the cookbooks we use and love: The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook, The Magic Kitchen Cookbook and Taste of Home Kid-Approved Cookbook
The Official DC Super Hero CookbookThe Magic Kitchen CookbookTaste of Home Kid-Approved Cookbook
5. Let Him Talk/Give Him the Chance to Open Up to You
Boys are often introverted creatures when it comes to sharing the details of their day. I try to provide alone time with each of my boys where they can talk and I can genuinely listen without distraction. This might be before bed as we say goodnight, on a walk around the block or just driving to and from school, sports or music lessons. To really bond with your son, turn off the radio, shut down the 1,000 to-dos running through your head, and just listen to what he has to say.
If your son isn’t big on conversation, a Mother and Son journal just might be the perfect thing for him. I love that this journal encourages boys to open up and creates a fun keepsake that you will love looking back on years down the road.
6. Share Positive Words of Affirmation
The words we say to our sons really do stick and sometimes we forget that our son’s self-esteem might be fragile. We expect them to be tough, which often causes them to hold back their emotions. Build your relationship with your son by telling him positive things about himself on a daily basis. Make a big deal out of his accomplishments and let him know how proud you are of him. A favorite quote of mine says:
“Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry.” – Alvin Price
7. Become the Student Instead of the Teacher
From the moment our children are born, we begin to teach them new things. Flip-flop roles for a bit and let your son teach you about his interests. Does your son love sports but you don’t have an athletic bone in your body? Have him teach you the basics of his favorite sport. Is the language of Minecraft completely foreign to you? Spend some time building an online amusement park and learning all about Creepers and Enderman. Your son will love that you took the time to learn about his interests and it let him know that if something is important to him, it is important to you.
Our children first learn about the world through play. Just because you are an adult does not mean that you can’t be silly, get messy and a little bit crazy. If you are a parent to boys then you know that they love to be loud and a bit rambunctious. They would be thrilled if you join in the fun with them. Get out the LEGO pieces, build a blanket fort, have a dance party in the kitchen, or fingerpaint a masterpiece. These are the moments your kids will remember and cherish the most.
Your son may love these games: Totally Gross: The Game and Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad.
Totally Gross: The Game of ScienceChutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad
9. Pass Notes
Start a fun tradition of leaving little notes on your son’s pillow or in his lunch box. You might even want to have a journal that you share and write little notes back and forth to each other. Your children might not tell you everything that is on their mind, but you will be surprised at how much they will write down. Plus, not all boys enjoy writing. This gives them a reason to write and express themselves.
10. One-On-One Time with Mom and Dad
If you have more than one child, chances are it is hard to spend quality time with each child alone. Set aside some time each week to spend with your children individally. Take them out on a Mother and Son date night. See what interests them and go out and do it together. I am always amazed at the things my boys tell me when they are alone without their other brothers.
Our Mom of Boys Survival Guide is packed full of fun ways you can spend one-on-one time with your son, as well as some of the very best “boy-hacks” to help raise him without losing your sanity.
As a parent of a son you know that all of their energy and excitement can sometimes be a handful. It’s a struggle to constantly find new things to entertain them without spending a ton of money. The Mom of Boys Survival Guide gives you everything you need to raise a son without having to spend hours searching Pinterest for fun ideas or being overwhelmed with all of the information out there about raising a boy.
Grab this cheat sheet for quick and easy reference:
I asked moms from our Moms of Boys community and The Joys of Boys Facebook page to answer how they bond with their boys. I love their responses below:
“My oldest son is 11 and is not into sports at all. I play some video or board games with him, go to the movies, arcade, etc. My son loves to read so we go to the bookstore on our date nights or sometimes even just the library.” – Mindy G.
“My 2 year old and I stop and watch equipment at construction sites. We have even put the hatch up, grabbed some snacks, and “tailgated.”” -Susan S.
“We play video games together! Everyone has a blast.” -Amy R.
“We let our son play tackle football this year…which I know nothing about. He is a quiet boy that doesn’t ever say what he is thinking or feeling so it has been fun watching the game footage together and asking him questions. It is the most I have gotten out of him in years and I love having something that he knows more about that he can explain to me.” -Chandee N.
” We like our weekend hikes as a family, take turns letting them cook dinner with us, and love supporting them in athletics.” Jeanie K.
“This may sound strange, but my oldest who is 13 loves staying at hotels, so he and I do little staycations in town and swim, and stay up late and watch moves and get room service and play games. It has really helped us bond.” -Melodi S.
” I am a single mom & so my eldest is the man of the house (he’s 16). He helps with the ‘manly chores’, helps with his brothers homework, just helps me a ton! I think we bond over keeping this house running smoothly. Good or bad, right or wrong: I depend on him so much. And that is something we can discuss at the end of the day. What’s going good, what needs improvement….like a well oiled machine.” – Kathrene W.
” I love playing catch with my 10 year old. I’m not good but he puts up with me! There’s always lots of laughs. I love that he’ll ask me to play catch with him.” – Loni T.
“I think the biggest thing, is to let them know you care. Ask them how things are going. Let them know they can confide in you. Spend time with them having fun and being silly. Support them in their interests. Give them responsibility and reward them, it lets them know they are important.” – Natalie L.
What are some ways that you bond with your son? I’d love to hear your ideas for building a strong relationship.
This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.
Check out the next post in the series: How To Teach Your Son to Be a Gentleman
Find all of our posts in one place on our series home page: 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys
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This is fantastic advice! #2 and #6 are neck and neck for my favorite tip. Thank you!
Some great ideas, i’ll save this away for when Sprog gets a bit bigger. At the moment, he just loves learning and messing around with both of us!
Heidi Sylvester says
I have 3 boys, but I thought I’d share how I bonded more with my oldest (now 17). A couple of years ago he got into watching The Walking Dead series. Lovely, right? I watched part of one of the first season’s episodes and had to leave the room because it was so intense and gory! I spent the next few seasons (of the series) saying how much I disapproved of him watching such a violent show and he kept trying to explain to me that there was actually a very good plot line – that the show was about much more than gore and violence. So, one night I asked if I could watch it with him. I struggled through the scary parts, and I decided that maybe there was some truth into his claim that the show had an interesting storyline. I remember thinking, maybe this could be our thing – watching this show together. It only took a few episodes before I was asking him a million questions about the story and its characters (which I had to learn to do only during commercials!) and suddenly I was hooked. He got a real kick out of it and some of my reactions to the gore, and would remind me every Sunday evening, “Don’t forget – Walking Dead is on tonight!” He did make me go watch the first 2 seasons after season 3 ended because my questions (“Who is that? Why are they going there?? What happened to him?!!”) were relentless! He went away to boarding school this year and I still watched the show every Sunday night of this past season, and because he had Sunday night study hours, would text him immediately after each show to say “Call me tomorrow as soon as you’ve finished watching it!”, dying to talk about it. He always laughs and says, “Relax – you know I will…” – and he does. It is the call that I most look forward to! I am so glad that I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and step out of my condemnation of the show, and lastly, step out of my own preconceived perceptions to be able to see that his interest in this series was valid! (My younger sons never asked to watch it, though, thank God – it really has some disturbing and horrifying scenes sometimes, and I would never have let them!) Who woulda thunk that a bunch of zombies would bring my oldest baby and I so much closer?!
I love these tips! I have one son and he is 6 months old. I can’t wait to be able to do some of these things with him! Thanks for the tips.
They grow up so fast!! Enjoy every minute of it. So glad you liked this article!
I was just spending time with my friend’s two step-daughters, and they really bonded with me in just one day because I actually spent time with them and asked them questions about their life.
I think many parents forget how important just listening and being interested is. All you have to do is make your kids feel like they’re really important and be interested in their lives.
Levi Armstrong says
I like your tip about being the student instead of a teacher to your son, and let him educate you on the matters you have little to no knowledge on. My son is a baseball enthusiast while I’m more of a basketball fan. I’ll try to listen to him more about his favorite baseball team and let him teach me baseball jargon, so I can understand the sport when we watch it. I’ll also try to get tickets to baseball sporting events so we can have a father and son bonding experience. Thanks a lot!