No matter how close you and your children are, there are always dry spells where the relationships seem strained. With parents working, children going to school, and all of the home dynamics, it is understandable that parents and their kids can disconnect.
According to a survey by USA Today, mothers in America spend an average of 13.5 hours a week with their children. American fathers only average about 7.3 hours. Even with hectic schedules, you can find creative ways to spend quality time with your children. Here are a few reconnecting suggestions:
1. Share Events In Each Other’s Day
You only get a few minutes each day in the morning with your kids before they rush off to school and you head to work. There are a lot of events that happen during your eight hours apart that are worthy to discuss. If you pick your children up from school, the ride home is an ideal time to ask them questions about their day. Ask if they learned anything new today. What was their favorite event of the day? Do they have a best friend? Did something negative happen and they were able to overcome it? You may also add a few things about your day to empathize with the kids. These questions not only create bonding conversation, but it also provides essential information about what is going on in your children’s lives. There may be some issues that you need to address.
2. Let Your Kids Help In The Kitchen
Most people agree that the kitchen is the heart of the home. As more Americans are cooking meals and eating out less, it allows for quality family time. You can use meal preparation as a way of teaching your kids about cooking and nutrition. Children of all ages are usually fascinated with how ingredients are mixed to create a fabulous dish.
Parents have to consider the ages of their children and what limitations they have. Younger children are content just to watch and ask questions while you are cooking. School age kids have the ability to help with some of the preparation. It is a good time to learn about measuring and math skills. With a little guidance, high school students can prepare most of a meal themselves. There is a special connection around the family table as you share food that you prepared together.
3. Get Outside And Have Some Fun
Nature is one of our greatest teachers. When families explore the great outdoors, it is an incredible bonding time. There have been struggling families who had their relationships restored through wilderness therapy. There is something about fresh air and feeling a connection with the earth that prepares our hearts to listen, to forgive, and to love again. You and your kids can have an awesome time in a national forest, a public park, or your own backyard. Natural elements promote curiosity and conversation.
4. Institute A Family Game Night
Do you remember all of those fun board games you played as a child? Designate one evening a week to play games with your kids. Turn off all of the technology and just enjoy each other’s company with some friendly competition. Find a variety of classic board games that are age appropriate. You may also have fun teaching your kids how to play different card games. Pop a big bowl of popcorn and let the games begin!
5. Enjoy Favorite Books At Bedtime
According to statistics from the National Education Association, children whose parents read to them on a daily basis have greater advantages over those children who do not have these reading times. The best way to foster a love for reading is to show your children how much you enjoy it. Find age appropriate books and share stories with your kids every night. It is a great way to wind your child down for the night, while the two of you share a special time. As your kids get older, let them read some of the stories to you. Your children will get practice in reading and the two of you can reconnect.