We all get busy with our kids. We drop off. We pick up. We go to play-dates, birthday parties and school plays. With so much time with our children, you’d think we’d feel fully connected everyday. But all time spent isn’t quality time.
With all this running around, sometimes it’s important to slow down and spend one-on-one time with each child. There’s the typical trip to the mall, the lunch date or the visit to the local play place, but what else can you do with your child that can provide special time to bond?
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of yet!
Creating “Just Us” Time
1. Nature Walk and Scavenger Hunt
I’ve done this with my own children and it can provide special time to talk while doing something fun. Write a list of “things to look for” on your walk such as something “red,” “pointed,” “round,” or “soft.” Then start an art project together using the items you found. A collage of leaves that my daughter and I collected with silver and gold sparkles is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever done with her. I have it up in my kitchen as a symbol of that day — uninterrupted time submerged in a beautiful, quiet place together.
2. You Lead, I’ll Follow
For one day during the year, declare it your child’s special day. Allow your son or daughter to choose whatever he or she wants to do with you. It should be something that is not typical and that really represents his or her interests. Some choices my friends and I have made are: Going to the dinosaur museum, getting on a train to explore a different city together, going to a climbing facility, getting tickets to a special performance, visiting an indoor water park or going swimming in a hotel pool. Got more than one child? Let them plan the special day together. Or give each one a special day each month!
3. A Parent/Child Book Club
This is such an awesome way to spend time with a preteen or teen. Form a small book club where you read books that you can discuss together. It’s a great way to connect and get to know your child in a different way. If you’d like to explore this idea more fully as it relates to mothers and daughters specifically, a friend and colleague of mine, Lori Day, has a book coming out called Her Next Chapter in which she and her daughter discuss exactly how to form the book club, suggested reading and interesting conversation questions to explore.
4. A Never-Ending Memory Book or Video Log
This memory book or video log can be filled with little quotes or stories, photos and notes to one another. The idea can be presented in diary form in which each person works separately and then is read privately or it can be created together at the kitchen table. Over time it will be fun to look back and see what was written, recorded, drawn or photographed. You can even leave “quizzes” or questions for one another in these books from the reflective (“What was something that made you smile this week?”) to the touching (“What is your favorite memory of something we did together?”) to the bizarre (“Write a story about a dog, a mosquito and a picnic in the park.”)
The idea is to create space to learn about each other but also to bond. It’s not about the money you spend or how creative the idea but that you are together, without distraction, so you can appreciate this special time.
What do you like to do with your child? Please share so we can all learn from one another!
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