In today’s over scheduled, stretched too thin society, it’s more important than ever to take time to connect and communicate with your kids. Here are 10 ideas that can help break the ice and set a bonding tradition in your house.
1. During dinner ask everyone to share one piece of both good news and bad news from the day. Take the opportunity to teach coping skills when discussing the bad news. Keep in mind that the kids are listening and watching your reaction to bad news as well so set a good example.
2. Let the kids be the cooks on night. Set up a restaurant atmosphere in your home and create some lifetime memories. Little ones will enjoy decorating the table and making special menus for the evening. It’s also a great way to teach some skills and safety guidelines in the kitchen. Try the “you cook, I clean” routine to help encourage family teamwork.
3. Head out to a bookstore or library with your children. Have the kids find a book of different genres or pick out a book to read together. There are also book exchange programs throughout the community that provides a great way to trade old favorites.
4. Show interest in your children’s interests. If your child loves sports, ask them to share some stats or highlights. Not only will your kids feel good about telling you about their favorite things, it will encourage them to learn more about them too.
5. Do a one-on-one activity with each child at least once a week. Simple tasks or setting apart 15-20 minutes a day to work on a project together, one-on-one, can make a huge difference in togetherness.
6. Take turns choosing inspirational quotes that the entire family can memorize together. Pick a theme for the week and use it as a talking point. One week could be a quote on kindness and you can all share one kind thing you did for another person each day.
7. Once a week after mealtime, play a game. A quick round of Uno or something outdoors when the weather breaks. Encourage participation with fun rewards.
8. When taking the kids to school, take the opportunity to encourage the kids to talk about grades, friends, behavior and activities. You’ll get in the know and may be able to catch negative behaviors early.
9. After dinner, rotate sharing a joke or a funny story.
10. Have regular family nights doing something fun that everyone enjoys. There are many great inexpensive and free events for families in our community. Check them out here.