It is not easy to be an uncle to a little girl. Perhaps this is a generalization, but uncles tend to find it easier to bond with nephews than nieces. They can be rougher. They were once little boys themselves and so they understand what boys like and how they play. They can easily talk about cars and sport and men things. With nieces, it can be a bit tougher. Guys are often awkward at the best of times around the opposite sex and nieces are no exception. But it doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, it can be very easy. Here are a few simple tips to have the nieces eating out of your hand.
This is not complicated – everybody loves receiving gifts and anyone can give them. There is a degree of thought that needs to go into the process to ensure that you are spending your money wisely, but aside from that just make it a thing to give generously. It is no harder or easier to buy gifts for girls than it is to buy gifts for boys. She is your niece after all, and you should know what she likes. Books, clothes, dolls, toys… whatever it is, don’t hold back. Be generous and be thoughtful and she will appreciate it.
Never hold back expressing your love for her or your joy to see her. Use your words but use your body language too. Hugs are great and she will appreciate them. Let her know that she means the world to you as well. She might not be your daughter, but she is still your flesh and blood and children all love to feel loved. Nobody has ever attended a funeral and thought, ‘I should have told them less how much I love them,’ so know that you cannot err by doing it too much.
Go out of your way to make time for your niece. We are all busy and it can be very hard to find time to entertain and spend time with a young person but think of it as an investment into your and her future. The time you spend bonding when she is still little will be printed indelibly into her mind. It will stay with her forever and you will always be special to her as she grows up.
Just because a person is small it doesn’t mean that they don’t have valuable things to say or that their feelings mean less than adults. Listen to what she says and hear her. And if she is shy or quiet then go out of your way to solicit her opinion. Empower her to speak out and act when she does. You don’t have to give her everything that she wants but you can explain to her why you are doing what you are doing. Being heard is very important for a child and it will make the world of difference to the quality of your relationship with her if you listen properly.