Every healthy relationship requires an investment of time, effort and energy. And, out of all the relationships we can have, one of the most precious is the one we have with our kids.
But between work and school schedules, a wide array of activities and all of the other demands that life springs upon us, it can be really easy to let days—which quickly turn into months—pass us by. Before we know it, our little ones aren’t so little anymore. And, if we’re not careful, we’ll discover way up the road that we weren’t able to establish the kind of emotional connection with them that we wanted to.
If you can relate, know that there is no time like the present to further cultivate your bond. You don’t need a ton of money or “huge ideas” in order to strengthen your relationship with your children. Just heart, intention, consistency and a list like this to get your creative juices flowing.
Are you ready to get a little closer to your kids?
Have a breakfast picnic.
Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it’s also the first opportunity each morning most of us get to connect with our children in one room. Whether your kids aren’t big breakfast eaters or you want them to do more than zoom through the kitchen with a waffle in their hand, at least once a week, plan breakfast out by having a breakfast picnic.
It can be on a Saturday morning or you can get everyone up 30 minutes early on a weekday. By planning this out, your kids will love the thought of sitting on a blanket in the living room with some of their favorite music playing in the background and some cereal and fresh fruit for them to fuel up on.
There are plenty of studies to support that cooking with the ones you love can help to strengthen a relationship. When it comes to your children, it’s a great way to get in some much-needed quality time as you teach them a skill and also model to how to eat healthier too.
Show them how to re-purpose clothing.
Kids grow fast and sometimes their clothing is more expensive than ours is. Create your own at-home crafts hour by showing them how to re-purpose some of their clothing. With your help, they can turn pants into shorts and skirts and long-sleeve tops into cute tees. It’s hours of fun and good for the environment too (since it’s a form of recycling known as “upcycling”).
Play board games.
It might sound antiquated but think of how much fun you had as a child, playing board games with your family. Candy Land, Life and Monopoly (Junior) are ones that you can still buy that will provide ours of fun for you and your kids without you having to compete with a television or tablet.
Decorate the house for each holiday/season.
Who said that the only time a house should be decorated is over the holiday season? Another cool way to get in some quality time with your kids is to decorate your house every season or in preparation for every holiday that rolls around.
One example is you could get a faux tree to put in the house and then handmake “ornaments” to hang on it (hearts for Valentine’s Day, four-leaf cloves for St. Patrick’s Day, etc.). Or, you can ask the kids to come up with themes for your fireplace’s mantle and get the supplies they need from a local art supply store. The sky really is the limit as you encourage them be “interior decorators” right along with you.
Have a staycation.
It would be awesome if we all could take trips around the world on an annual basis. Unfortunately, sometimes our schedules and budgets don’t make that very easy. A happy medium is planning a family staycation. You can have a slumber party in your living room, camp out in the backyard or rent a hotel suite, hop on some public transportation and act like tourists in your own city. Whatever you decide, we guarantee your kids will love it!
Chances are, if you think back to some of the best memories you had while growing up, they consisted of not doing much at all. So long as your parents were close by, you were perfectly content. While you’re in the process of “doing” for your children, remember that just sitting on the back porch and asking them to share their dreams and desires as you both listen and laugh together can be some of the best times of their entire life.
Take a class together.
One of the best things about being a parent is it reminds you to take out moments to look through the eyes of a child. What’s beautiful about that is so much is new and exciting to children, so use their energy and natural curiosity as inspiration to learn something new yourself. Both of you can sign up for an arts class, a dancing class—anything that tap into your creative minds and also give you moments to bond together.
UNPLUG (especially during meals).
There is no need for adults or children to be on their phones so much that they can’t enjoy a meal or watch a movie together as a family. Kids learn by example more than words. If you want your children to not be totally reliant on electronics, make sure you unplug in front of them. It sends the message that there is a time and place for everything. More importantly, that when you’re with them, nothing deserves your attention more.
Find time to build a strong relationship with your kids while they are young. Trust us, time flies by and before you know it, they will be off to college!