How to help boost the bond between your partner and your kids

Dad is going to love this card we’re making for him with Cheerios and glue!

How to help boost the bond between your partner and your kids

Pointing out your partner’s good traits or behaviors in front of your kids is one powerful way to be kind, warm and affectionate, and to foster a healthy relationship—in other words, becoming a relationship "master."

Here are 6 ways to support the relationship between your partner and your kids:

1. Say thank you to your partner in front of your kids and encourage them to do the same.

  • Thanks for making this delicious dinner, Sue. Doesn’t your mom cook such good food for all of us?
  • Thanks to your mom for fixing your bike. Isn’t she so handy? She can really fix so many different things!
  • Dad is busy cleaning again. See how fast he cleaned the playroom? Thanks to him, now we really have room to run around!

2. Point out to your kids the positive traits and behaviors of your partner.

  • Wow, your mom took you to the zoo today? What a fun mom! That sure was nice of her to show you all those cool animals!
  • Doesn’t Dad do the funniest voices when he’s reading you books? He’s so great to read books with, isn’t he?
  • I see how Mom brushes your hair very gently and holds it so it doesn’t hurt. Now your hair looks shiny and smooth.
  • Look how Dad packed the whole car while we were sleeping so we could leave right away for vacation in the morning. He was really working hard last night so we could go on this trip!

3. Help your kids make cards and art projects for your partner.

  • Dad is going to love this card we’re making for him with Cheerios and glue! Let’s put it on the table so you can give it to him right when he walks in the door!
  • Mom is going to be so excited when she sees this painting of a cake we made just for her birthday! I bet she never got one of these before.
  • I know, let’s make a thank you card for those delicious hot dogs Dad grilled for us tonight. Should we use crayons or markers?
  • I can’t wait for you to give these macaroni necklaces to Mom. They are really colorful.

4. Tell your children detailed, endearing, or humorous stories about your partner’s past.

  • You know, this one time I was sick and Mom took really good care of me. She even made me a get-well present with homemade chicken soup and a surprise. Do you know what the surprise was?
  • Your dad used to be a catcher in baseball games, just like that guy in the picture in this book. He was so good at throwing that he could throw that ball so hard all the way across the whole field. And one time when he was batting I even saw him whack it over the fence!

5. Make room in your schedule for your partner to take each child out for some special one-on-one time.

  • Why don’t you take John out to the football game, just the two of you? I can stay home with our younger two.
  • If you want to just take Abby to the beach today, I will take John to Target with me.

6. Let your kids help you surprise your partner.

  • Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s make Mom breakfast in bed this morning. She will love that! Do you want to help me make the pancakes? You could even bring her the tray.
  • Why don’t we wash Daddy’s car while he’s at work? He would be so surprised when he gets home! Here, you can spray the hose.

Support for your partner’s relationship with your children has far-reaching effects. You build family trust, closeness, and kindness. Drawing your attention to the good in your partner makes you appreciate them even more.

Most importantly, your children begin their lives seeing their other parent reflected in the best light—the shining one you cast on them.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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