Making time to connect with your child can be hard to do, but is the key to happier and more amiable kids. Giving your son or daughter your undivided attention will not only create lifelong memories, it will also help strengthen your relationship. This article from the Peaceful Parent Institute explains why quality time is so important for the parent-child relationship. Life gets busy and overwhelming, but these ideas are easy, budget friendly and fun!
1. Go on an adventure and let your child capture the memories with your camera
Take a walk in the woods and look for bugs, drive into the city and check out the architecture, or just take a quick walk around your neighborhood with a camera in hand. Slow down and see the world through the eyes of a child. You will certainly have some fun photos to laugh at when he is older.
2. Look through old photos and create a scrapbook
Kids love looking at pictures of themselves. Make it a special time with them by looking through old photos together and share memories from when the pictures were taken. After that you can bust out the glitter and stickers to create a scrapbook of your child’s favorite photos. For older, tech savvy kids, you can create a scrapbook online using a photo website like Snapfish.
3. Draw together, build together, create together
The other night when I was putting my daughter to bed she asked me to draw with her. Normally I am exhausted and itching to get to the couch to on binge Netflix during my one hour of solace. However, last night I took the time to be with her. We snuggled, talked and drew pictures.
We each had our own notebook and did our own thing. It was incredible. She opened up about her day, giggled, and really connected with me. My other daughter is a little more hands-on, so the following morning I took a moment to invest in her by building towers and crashing cars into them to knock them down. Both activities were simple, but I could tell they had a great impact on both girls. The next day they fought less, helped out more, and we were a much happier family.
More fun and easy hands-on child centered ideas:
- Make play dough or slime together – try one of these great recipes play dough & slime
- Fun with planes, trains and automobiles. Check our this adorable truck activity from Minne Mama
- Let your child pick a topic that interests them and learn more about it together.
My daughter was really into rocks for a while, so we spent some time reading about rocks, painting rocks and making a rock collection.
4. Plan a meal together
One of my daughter’s favorites Christmas gifts was a kid’s cookbook. We choose a day each month to plan a meal using some of her recipes. She makes the shopping list, finds the items at the store, and then we cook our meal together. Working in the kitchen is a great way to connect with your kiddo. An added bonus is that when you’re cooking you are teaching them important skills in math, reading and science!
5. Take a class together
Learning something new together is an excellent way to connect with your little one. Here are a few ideas that are sure to be fun:
- Art and crafts – MN Book Arts, MIA
- Pottery –Aristry MN
- Yoga –Learning Tree Yoga
- Sailing –Minneapolis Sailing Center
- Cooking –Way Cool Cooking School
- Martial Arts –Warriors Cove
- Science –The Works
- Improv Theater –Improv Parenting
For additional classes for kids in the Twin Cities click here.
6. Start a book club
One of my favorite memories growing up was sitting in bed with my mom reading books. Even as I got older, I would sit in her bed while we each quietly read our own books. I think as our children become teenagers, we forget how small moments like that can fill even the moodiest hearts with love.
Start a weekly book club with your son or daughter. A trip to the library and a discussion about your favorite parts of the book can be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
7. Make a date to connect with your child
Connect with your kid each month by planning a one-on-one date with your kid. Sit down together and use the sKIDaddlers‘ search tool to research and bookmark exciting new places to explore. The possibilities are endless!
8. Exercise together
Staying fit while having fun with your child is a win win for everyone! It’s easier than you think. You can have dance party, go for a run together, or just kick a ball around the back yard.
Additional resources: Staying Fit as a Family, Best Hikes for Families, Top MN Bike Friendly Trails
9. Volunteer together
Volunteering and giving back to your community helps children develop empathy, and compassion. Check out our list of volunteer opportunities for different ways you can bond with your child while making a difference in our community.
I think this is the most important one from this list. Although obvious, it is not something I always do well. Talking without checking my phone or being distracted by one of the things on my never ending to-do list is hard for me. I am working hard to be more mindful of genuinely responding to the silly things my kids say. I’m learning that when I don’t make the time to actively listen to my girls, they are less likely to listen to me.
Journaling or having a mailbox to deliver handwritten notes and drawings is a fun way to connect with your child. We save ours in a box and pull them out when someone needs a reminder of how much they are loved.