Are you a first-time aunt/uncle and you just can’t contain your happiness?
Want to spend most of your time with your little niece/nephew, but always fall short of ideas on how to form that close bond with them?
Well, worry not! We have something for you!
Read on to know how you can make the most of this relationship and strengthen the bond with your niece/nephew.
11 ways to bond with your niece/nephew
1) Have Fun, Make Memories
It’s amazing to be with a baby or toddler and see them smile or laugh at your silly antics. Right?
Give them a reason to smile. Try to be their favourite person.
Make the most of your time with your niece/nephew.
Cherish the experiences: capture the moments, take pictures or videos, and take pride in treasuring this relationship.
How about a selfie to tell the world you are the coolest aunt/uncle to the cutest girl/boy?
2) Be A Good Example
Your little champion probably thinks you’re the coolest company to be with.
They look up to you, so do your best to be a good example and role model.
For example, be punctual, well-dressed, maintain hygiene, respect elders, never use profanities, and setting boundaries.
Be a good influence!
3) Shape Their Interests
As an aunt/uncle, you have great power in moulding your niece/nephew’s personality and interests. Encourage and support them.
Take them out for a hobby or nature trail.
Don’t be someone who comes home with a high-end smartphone for kids to explore because the child should love you, not your possessions. Also, screen addictions are common concerns!
“Adults, say, uncles and aunts, must use their power in moulding kids with utmost responsibility because for kids it’s the age that forms the foundation of their being,” says Somya Batta, who’s part of an NGO that works with kids.
4) Give Thoughtful Gifts
If you want to shower your love on your niece/nephew, then gifting is a great gesture.
Be somebody who gets thoughtful gifts for kids — books, sports equipment, science games, funky accessories, or school stationery.
Check with their parents if there’s something that the kids want that makes for a meaningful gift. Psychologists agree that expensive gifts or fast food aren’t a way to win their love.
As an aunt/uncle, you are part of the family. So think of things you would want to do with your own child when you’re with your niece/nephew.
Looking to gift something special to your niece/nephew? Take a look>>
5) Be One Of Them
Kids love to play and have someone who can do things as per their wish.
While parents may be too busy, aunts/uncles can be fun people to be around.
“I love spending time with my niece and nephew. I play games with them, have tea with their dolls, draw cats and animals, and do cool stuff. In return I get pure love and uncountable kisses,” says Udaibir Singh, a media professional from Mumbai.
“They like me because I can be a kid and a grown-up at the same time who takes them out for ice cream!” he added.
6) Follow Parents’ Rules
Fulfill their wishes, do mad things but don’t break the discipline rules your sibling(s) has set for their kid(s).
If parents want you not to offer them junk food or want you to maintain their bedtime, respect their wishes.
Of course, you can take them out for films and playtime, but keep in mind their home rules.
7) Offer To Babysit
As aunt/uncle, you can spend a good amount of time with your nephew/niece and also give their parents a break.
Be ready to take care of kids when your siblings have some urgent work or an office party to attend.
After all, you’re family and kids will be happy to be with you, without an overlooking parent.
Plan your time well and do something special in this exclusive time.
8) Always Keep Your Promises
If you cannot promise, don’t promise. It isn’t cool to make a promise to a child and later forget about it. Remember, kids will not forget.
They are sensitive and have an impressionable mind. So don’t hurt their feelings, or shake their trust. If you have promised to buy them comic books, or take them for a superhero film, do it.
Even parents will not want their kids to be around a forgetful and careless aunts/uncles.
9) Remember Important Dates
Besides birthdays, try to be with your nephew/niece on their important days such as sports day, annual day, karate championship, etc. and perhaps, their doll’s birthday!
Witness their performance, planning, and joy. Always praise them for their efforts. Give kudos to your little niece/nephew for small achievements. Give them a reason to smile.
“My niece is the happiest when I take time out to attend her school events,” says Nisha Sharma, a proud aunt to a 4-year-old.
10) Be In Touch
Keep the relationship going on even as the kid grows up. Visit or call often!
Don’t wait for a reason or special occasion to be with your nephew/niece.
They are the reason, show your love for them. Be an awesome aunt/uncle!
11) Provide Emotional Support
Many kids just need encouragement!
You can encourage them to try out new things or to be more positive.
They should know that they can depend on you if something happens, even if they don’t actually need your support.
So, now you know how to bond with your niece/nephew, right?
But hey, we have a few more tips, especially suitable for the pandemic time where you don’t get to hang out in person with them.
5 quick ways to be an awesome aunt/uncle from afar
1) Have a weekly video hang-out: Hang out with your niece/nephew via video call(s). Set up a time and catch up with the little ones. (Psst! stick to the parent’s screen time limit!) . There could be impromptu calls too!
2) Send recorded videos/messages: If you’re caught up with work or are in screen-free time, send across a recorded video or message! This can a surprise pick-me-up too!
3) Virtual baby-sitting: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to engage your niece/nephew for a short time and do an activity together. Of course, the parents are gonna be there but it can be aunty/uncle-niece/nephew time. You both can make something special. How about a story or painting?
4) Homemade gifts: Make something special for your niece/nephew and ship it across so that it is something they can cherish. It needn’t for any occasion.
5) Birthday surprise: Plan a virtual surprise as an aunt/uncle that is something exclusive for your little one. How about a collage of your pictures together and sharing it with them? There are many!
Conclusion: Aunt/uncle relationship matters
When you are an aunt/uncle, you become a connection who is less formal than a parent!
Chances are that your niece/nephew will learn more from you as well. So, nourish this relationship as much as possible.
Yes, aunts/uncles do experience guilt of not spending enough time with their special little friends, but that’s all right!
Show up for them in a manner that your niece/nephew knows you are there for them!
What do you think?
Do you have any ideas or tips for being a cool aunt/uncle? Then share them with us in the ‘Comments’ section!
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