Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

Robot building delight

How finding things that delight you about your child can build trust, a better relationship, and make it easier to get them to cooperate.

This morning, my 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter were playing a computer game on PBS Kids. They had to build and then control a robot. My son had the keyboard in his hand, and my daughter sat next to him, directing him what to do.

"Press the button!" "Use the magnifying glass." "Now, move the robot!"

Then, after a string of commands, she would stay quiet for a while and just watch him play.

Then she would spot something on the screen and shout "Get the star, quickly!" And then my son would spring into action, following her command without complaint.

While watching them play, I thought about how well they cooperate when they are engaged in something they find interesting.

Watching them play together is relaxing, and one of my favorite parts of parenting.

Because often parenting can be so overwhelming, with thousands of things to do, screaming kids that just don't want to listen, and lots of frustrations and strong emotions.

But parenting can also be a delight and joy, something special that goes by too quickly.

And I think finding and treasuring these moments of joy and relaxation is just as important as anything else we do as parents.

When we interviewed Sarah Rosensweet for our book "How To Get Your Kids To Listen", she shared a technique she calls "Delighting In Your Children" that you can use to build connection and goodwill with your child throughout the day.

Sarah said:

The easy version is what we call “delighting in your child.” And it’s when you look for these micro moments of connection. Just meeting your child’s eye across the room and giving them a warm smile, or an unexpected squeeze, or a hug when you walk by, or a compliment, or just something very small. Something that just takes one second. But it’s just something you keep in your consciousness.

Tony Morrison, a late American author, says, “Let the love that you feel in your heart show on your face.” And that’s how I think of delighting in your child.

Sarah Rosensweet

Making the effort to look for these opportunities to connect with your child throughout the day, to just show them the love you feel, not only makes parenting more rewarding and joyful, but it also builds trust and your relationship, making it easier for them to listen to you when you really need it.

"Delighting in your child" not only makes them feel more connected to you, but also helps you feel more connected with your child. This helps you stay calmer when they inevitably start irritating or frustrating you.

In the interview, Sarah also shares how to stay calm and in control of yourself when dealing with your children, and why sometimes “giving up” is the best parenting strategy.

You can find the full interview with Sarah Rosensweet - How to create “win-win solutions” when dealing with your children - here.