Busy days and rushed evenings can push parent-child bonding time to the bottom of the list. Parents spend so much time trying to steer their kids in the right direction and provide a good life, that sometimes it's easy to forget about the little things that go a long way. A bedtime chat or 10 minutes of silly play time may be all it takes to help you and your child feel more connected to one another on a daily basis. 

When you reflect back on your days, you may wish you had put a little more focused energy into your time with your kids. You know how much they love it when you take them for ice cream, got to the park together, or watch them break their record on Super Mario Bros — but most days, there are too many responsibilities to deal with before you can fit those things in. But the good news is, you don't have to spend money or have grand plans to get the most out of your moments. 

If you're looking to amp up your parent-child bonding time, consider these 11 ideas you can try before bedtime to feel the warm fuzzies of relationship building. 

1. Eat Together

So much good talk can happen over meal time. Discuss your day (What was easy? What was hard?) and process feelings together. 

2. Positive Ending

Even if you've had a few disagreements throughout the day, try to end the day on a positive note. 

3. Get Them Envolved

Ask them to help cook dinner or assist you with some chores. It may not sound like fun to the kids at first, but you can talk and laugh together as you get things done. 

4. Be Spontaneous

You don't always have to stick to the schedule. Go off the grid a little and surprise the family with an impromptu pizza night or mid-dinner dance party. 

5. Validate Their Feelings

If your child is having a hard time, listen carefully to their feelings and let them know you hear them. Saying, "You sound so frustrated," will let them know you identify with how they feel. 

6. No Technology Time

Designate a time in the evening when everyone — that means you, too! — puts down devices and focuses on each other. Try playing a board game or listening to music together instead. 

7. Enjoy Some Giggles

Laughing together is one of the best things to do as a family. Watch a funny show or try making up your own jokes. Either way, you'll have some good belly laughs before bedtime. 

8. Play With Them

Let them choose an activity and give them your undivided attention for as long as possible. This special time will mean the world to them. 

9. Stay Calm

Practice the art of soft talk. Challenge yourself to no yelling for the evening, no matter how crazy things get. 

10. Cuddle

Grab a cozy blanket and snuggle up on the couch together with a good book or a movie. 

11. Tell Them About Your Childhood

Share a story about when you were a child. It will teach them something about you and help them to imagine that you were once just like them. 

How do you bond with your child at bedtime? Share with us in the comments!

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