The bond between a mother and her daughter is one of the most important relationships a girl will have in her lifetime. And sadly society gives us the false expectation that moms and daughters are doomed to be at odds with one another as soon as our baby girl approaches puberty.
And just like self-fulfilling prophecies do, this expectation takes over and suddenly you look up and your once close relationship with your daughter feels more bitter than sweet.
If you’ve been dreading the teenager years with your daughter and fear what’s to come and change in your relationship, I’m happy to say it’s all a lie.
We have a choice to believe that lie and act accordingly or decide to expect differently. I’m choosing the road less traveled.
Who’s with me?
I have both a teenage daughter and a tween daughter and I treasure those beautiful hearts. And developing the bond we have now wasn’t always easy and I made a ton of mistakes in the process. And these ideas are ones my girls and I all love and work for us!
Before I dive in these super simple and fun mother-daughter bonding activities, I want to take a moment to share why it’s so important to make time to bond with your child.
Importance of Parent Child Bonding
Creating a close bond with your daughter has benefits you’ll treasure for a lifetime as a mom. And though the benefits for you are amazing, the benefits of a close relationship with you (for your daughter) don’t even come close!
That’s because she needs you… more than she’ll probably ever admit.
And she has a challenging road ahead as a girl finding her way in this rather upside down world.
She needs encouragement when she wants to give up and feels like she’s failing.
She needs unconditional love when all her friends decided over the summer they wanted new, better friends and she feels all alone.
She needs support as she steps out to try new and scary things.
And she needs a soft place to land when she really messes up… because she will. We all do.
You have the power to do and be all that for your daughter. And I already know you want to because you’re still with me! So let’s talk about those fun ways to connect and bond with your daughter!
1 | Take an Interest in What She Loves
This step is a huge one because it can really challenge us as parents. Our kids are all unique and have many interests and passions, many of which we may not be interested in AT ALL. Or better yet, not be skilled at in the least bit.
That makes it challenging for us to jump in and do their thing with them. But taking an interest doesn’t mean doing it just like they do. Let’s say for example your daughter is really into skateboarding. I personally wouldn’t recommend buying a skateboard and learning new tricks. You might be seeing the inside of an emergency room sooner than you think!
But taking an interest could look like, going outside or to a park and shooting slo-mo videos of their tricks, searching for cool skateboarding tutorials on YouTube, and even watching and helping them practice their skills.
This all counts as bonding time with your daughter and she’ll know how much you care about her and what she likes! The possibilities are endless.
You could even share some of these daughter quotes with her to let her know just how much you love her.
2 | Have a Silly Question Asking Session
Asking questions is a fun activity that people love. That’s why games like Truth or Dare and Would you Rather are so popular.
Getting to dive into someone’s head is fun but it’s also a fantastic way to get to know the other person’s heart! And that’s exactly the prize we’re after when spending time with our kids. After all, you can’t really bond with a person’s heart if you don’t know what’s in a person’s heart.
And that’s where the questions come in. Asking totally hypothetical and wacky questions makes this activity both fun and insightful. Try asking questions like:
“If anyone in the world could be your teacher at school for a day, who would it be?”
“If you could change any of rules of this world which ones would you change?”
Check out tons more fun questions to ask kids!
3 | Read a Book Together
Even if your daughter isn’t really into reading and books for pleasure, almost everyone loves a good story! I started reading books with my daughter every night a few years ago and it’s such a fun time for us.
We both take turns reading pages, as the latest adventure unfolds. We both love mystery, adventure, and suspense books so that’s what we always read. I actually recommend that type of book if you’re just starting out because they add so much fun and drama.
We’ve tried to read other genres but they always read rather slow and boring. I think that just has to do with the read-aloud aspect.
This is such a fun activity because it gives you something common to talk about and share the ideas and life lessons learned in the book. I mean, we’ve all read a fantastic book and was dying to talk to someone about it. Hence, the popularity of book clubs.
That means reading books together creates instant and unlimited conversation possibilities!
4 | Start a Mom and Me Journal
Kids can be wildly creative but sometimes they just need a little push to get those juices flowing. And that’s what all the fun prompts in this journal do! Plus, you can keep them year after year and look back on their precious answers.
Sharing a journal is especially helpful if you’re experiencing challenges with communication. Not every child is comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings directly to another person. Allowing them a safe space to write and draw their emotions is helpful for both you and your daughter.
Get your copy of this great Mom and Me Journal here!
5 | Have a Standing One-on-One Date
Having a standing mother-daughter date doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or an over-the-top event. You can schedule these as frequently as works for your life. They can be as frequent as once a week or once a quarter.
The point is, to set aside time to spend with your daughter… just you and her. If you have more than one daughter as I do, you’ll need to schedule two mother-daughter dates.
The first thing to remember is to keep activities simple that allow for good communication. Seeing a movie can be really fun but try to go out for lunch after so you have plenty of time to talk.
You also don’t need to spend any money! Walking a nature trail, going to the pool or beach, or even doing each other’s nails or makeup doesn’t cost you anything but your time. Looking for ideas? Here are 60 fun bonding time activities to try.
Just don’t forget to add it to your schedule so you don’t forget!
6 | Play a Board Game Together
Playing games with your child is a no-brainer but not just any games. Board games are best for bonding time with your kids. Playing video games with your kids isn’t bad, but usually doesn’t allow for good communication.
And you may be surprised to know that playing board games is actually good for our health! They help with our cognitive functions, help reduce stress, and even keep our brains young for longer. So that’s a total win!
Playing games is also great to help you connect and have fun with your daughter. My kids love playing board games and my middle daughter is especially strategic and competitive when playing games. I really learned about her competitiveness by playing games with her.
7 | Ask How You Can Help
This last step isn’t exactly an activity but it is something to start doing to bond with your daughter. This works really well as your daughter gets older.
As our kids grow, they instinctively become more independent. And it’s our parental duty to allow them the space to do things on their own. And this helps us out by reducing a lot of little things off our plate like packing lunches, doing hair before school, or even making their own snacks.
My oldest daughter has gotten to the point of taking care of most of her responsibilities on her own. And that’s awesome and allows me to focus on my other two that still need much of my help.
But I realized one day, that for a while I had been doing nothing for my oldest in terms of “helping” her do things. So I decided to do a little check-in. I sat down in her room, as I usually do, and complimented her on staying on task with most of her daily to-do’s.
I told her how impressed I was with her. Then I followed up with an important question: “It looks like you’re handling your routine well on your own, but is there anything I can help you with at all?”
This question does two things: it first makes her feel noticed and appreciated (a really big deal!) and it also affirms that she’s not alone (also a really big deal). Offering our help isn’t overbearing and allows our growing kid to make a choice.
My daughter just smiled and said, “no, I think I’m good.” But I swear I noticed her shoulders pushed back a bit farther than usual and a light in her eyes twinkled just a tad brighter in that moment. Our kids desperately need to know that we see them.
This age is also the perfect time to check in on your daughter and make sure that her self-esteem and self-confidence is where it should be. You can use these questions to build self-confidence to help.
Making room to connect with your daughter is a joy and a privilege but should never feel overwhelming. Making things simple and fun is your only priority here.
Try doing one thing on the list and seeing what your daughter enjoys most. Then do that consistently.
This sacred time is one you’ll both treasure and will help you create an unbreakable bond that will be enormously helpful as your daughter gets older.
Remember to use this time to connect, affirm her, and get to know her heart. This is the very definition of time well spent!
This post was a guest post by Brandi Michel.
Brandi Michel is the founding mama at FamilyFelicity.com. While she’s most certainly chasing kiddos and holding a cup of lukewarm coffee in her hand, she’s also busy helping moms enjoy motherhood and connect more with their kids! Grab her FREE Ebook: The Foolproof Plan for Easy Communication with Your Kids!