5 Activities to Improve Trust Between Parents and Children

Trust between parents and children is created with mutual knowledge, respect, and dialogue. These dynamics help you on a daily basis.
5 Activities to Improve Trust Between Parents and Children
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 28 April, 2023

A few decades ago, the authoritarian parenting style was the most widespread. However, research has shown that it’s not the most effective style for raising healthy, autonomous, and happy children. On the contrary, respectful practices, in which affection and connection prevail, seem to be more appropriate. For the same reason, we’d like to suggest some activities to improve trust between parents and children.

This complicity and emotional intimacy are necessary in many ways. First of all, they help children and adolescents feel more secure in their homes and see their parents as reference figures to turn to. In addition, they favor communication and help to create closer ties.

If you want to enjoy these benefits, you don’t need to make great efforts. You simply need to apply a series of guidelines on a daily basis, which we’ll summarize in the following dynamics on a daily basis.

Write down these activities to improve trust between parents and children

The suggestions below can be easily included in your day-to-day life. Each family will decide how often to apply them according to their needs. We hope you find them interesting.

1. View photo albums

Trust is defined as the degree to which we feel safe with another person. It implies a deep mutual understanding and the reassurance of being able to be vulnerable in the presence of the other person. This is because we know that this person won’t harm us and will always seek our greatest good. For this, it’s important that the relationship is reciprocal; that is, you must know your child well, but also give them the opportunity to know more about you.

It’s not enough to ask them about their day or their emotions, you must also be willing to share with them how you feel, what your life is like, and what your experiences have been. And, for this, looking at photo albums together is an excellent option. Take some photos from your childhood or your youth, from when you got married, or when your children were born, and show them to your child or teenager.

While you look at them, share with them what you were like at each stage, what you felt, how you lived those moments, and what you used to do. They’ll love to discover more about their story, will understand you better, and will feel honored that you’re open to sharing your intimacy and your past with them.

A family looking at a family photo album.
When looking at a photo album, when you get to those pictures where your child appears, ask them to tell you how they remember those moments, what they felt, and what their experience was like.

2. Share evening dynamics

In order to build mutual trust, it’s very positive to share our thoughts with our children and take them into account in our daily lives. This dynamic can be done in the evening, either at dinner or before bedtime. It consists of each of you telling the other the following:

  • A moment that took place during the day that you’re grateful for; in other words, the best moment of the day.
  • Also, a situation that worries you or has caused you anxiety, fear, or sadness.

The idea is to be able to listen to each other and offer support and advice. There’s no need to talk about big worries, as younger children shouldn’t be burdened with adult problems. However, you can ask your child what clothes they think you can wear to your meeting tomorrow or how you can improve your macaroni recipe. It’s all about making them feel taken into account, and just as you give them guidance about their day, they can give you guidance, too.

3. Share likes and dislikes

One of the great ways you can make your child feel loved is by taking an interest in their tastes and preferences. Sometimes, we make the mistake of rejecting the series our children watch or belittling the music they listen to. However, this is a good opportunity to get closer to them. Therefore, establish moments to share with each other your favorite movies, musical groups, or activities that interest you the most.

For example, every morning, when going to school in the car, each of you can choose the songs to listen to; or every Friday night, you can have dinner while watching the program chosen by whoever’s turn it is. On weekends, you can plan family activities chosen by each member, taking turns. The idea is to be open to new experiences, share opinions, and learn more about each other’s tastes.

4. Use assertive communication

To improve trust between parents and children, we can’t only focus on the positive aspects, we must also be able to address the more uncomfortable ones in the best way. This activity can be applied when there has been a misunderstanding or argument between you. When you’ve calmed down, sit down and talk about it.

In turn, you can state your opinion on different points:

  • What you think the problem was
  • How you felt during the argument
  • What you wish the other person had said or done
  • What you think you can improve on an individual level for next time

It’s very important that this conversation is conducted in a non-judgmental way and seeks to really listen to what the other person thinks, feels, and needs. With young children, it can be a little more complicated to apply. However, it’s an excellent way to work with them on communication and emotional intelligence, as well as to help them become more decisive.

A father and son sitting down and talking on the porch in their pajamas.
As your child gets older, they’ll be able to get involved in more tasks around the house and be more autonomous with personal matters. Dialogue is key to reaching agreements.

5. Have a democratic assembly

This last suggestion can be done from time to time. The idea is to share the rules established in the family and the possibility of modifying them or making them more flexible. You can discuss, for example, the type of activities that each child is responsible for and what their rights and responsibilities are.

Also, as they grow older, the child will demand more independence and trust from you. Here, you can come to agreements about this in a democratic way. For example, the child or adolescent may express a desire to start going to school alone, to have a cell phone, or to close the door to their room when they’re inside.

In return, you can ask them to show responsibility by keeping their room tidy and respecting the hours allowed for phone use or by fulfilling their assigned chores. In this way, mutual trust is established and both parties commit to doing their part.

Improving trust between parents and children day by day

Trust between parents and children isn’t achieved in one day; it’s a long-distance race that becomes a way of life and a way of communicating. Introducing the above activities into your family dynamics facilitates those moments of connection, conversation, and mutual support. In this way, bonds are strengthened. Thanks to this, children will grow up and feel secure, listened to, and taken into account. And, undoubtedly, family relationships will be more harmonious and satisfactory.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Jorge, E., & González, M. C. (2017). Estilos de crianza parental: una revisión teórica. Informes psicológicos17(2), 39-66.
  • Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Trost, K. (1999). To know you is to trust you: Parents’ trust is rooted in child disclosure of information. Journal of adolescence22(6), 737-752.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.