In this crazy, hectic, chore-filled world that revolves around constant obligations and attempts to make our children’s lives better, we often forget that the best way to make them genuinely happy is to simply spend time with them. They’re always away at school and you’re always at work or stuck cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry, so when you do get together, the time you have is precious. How do you make the best of it? How do you make sure you bond and grow closer than ever before?
Teach them a skill
Kids look up to us. You’d be surprised at just how impressive they find their parents to be, how much they want to be just like us. Are you a good cook? Do you know how to repair things? Maybe you’re good at woodwork, or drawing, or fashion. Why not teach them what you know? You could bake cookies together, you could paint, you could even just sit down with a stack of magazines and cut out various clothing articles then try to match them together to make outfits. Teaching them a skill will make them respect you, and it might also teach them something useful that they can use later in life. Besides, this gives them a real insight into your own interests and personality, so show your child what you like and what you know and they’ll be your biggest fan.
Organize board game nights
Board games are really fun for kids and they’re a great choice for an evening of bonding because playing them is a social activity that the whole family can engage in. Make some snacks, sit down, and grab a box. We suggest skipping Monopoly and going for something that’s more fun and creative. Dixit, for example, is very easy to play and has beautiful illustrations that can spark the imagination; or maybe a game like Tales of the Arabian Nights, which will take them on an adventure and make them laugh. Ticket to Ride, Pictionary, Codenames, and others are perfectly appropriate for the whole family, can teach them valuable reasoning and creative skills, and simply make everyone have loads of fun. This is also a good opportunity to teach them how to handle both winning and losing, and why it’s important not to get angry and give up when things aren’t going their way.
Use the computer together
If you can’t beat them, join them. While limiting screen time is encouraged, it’s impossible to cut it out altogether. Kids will start using computers at school at some point, and preventing them from picking up computer skills is the equivalent to making them illiterate in the modern world. So, why not use the computer or tablet together? You can sit down and explain to them how to be safe on the internet, and you can easily find good online kids’ fishing games or other educational content that will help them learn and develop motor skills. Look for games that stimulate their intellect and have a fun, interesting theme that will amuse them.
Spend time in nature
Kids who live in cities don’t spend nearly as much time in the nature as they should. We’re all stuck inside our homes for the most part, and children really need fresh air to be healthy. Why not organize a picnic or a simple walk every week? You could also go on a small vacation or take them hiking through the forest. Show them farm animals, show them different types of plants, teach them how to set up a camp. They will end up loving nature and wanting to spend time in it even when they grow up.
An active kid is a healthy kid, and teaching them to love sports and exercise early on will mean a much smaller risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and other issues later on. Besides, what better way to save some time and get your own daily dose of activity? Most parents are generally too busy to work out, so this could help you shape up as well. Grab your bikes and go riding, go rock climbing, go ice skating, or simply stay at home and do some basic exercises.
As people always say, they do grow up so fast, so make sure you bond. Parent/child relationships should be built up on time, and these are some great ways to make sure your whole family stays happy and close.
Brigitte is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.