Over 21,000,000 are being raised in non-traditional households with a non-custodial parent or grandparent wanting to have a relationship with their family member, but stating that it is difficult to do. So, last year, I asked one of our parent coaches, Jillian Kennedy, how she would recommend spending time with children during this break. She had a hard time just offering a few ideas on how to best connect. Her comment was that there are lots of ways you can connect with your child! She suggested one start by making your visit time really fun and memorable by concentrating on making them comfortable in your surroundings.
Here is a list of activities that you can do with your child during your visit to encourage a sense of normalcy and warmth. You can choose activities that you would normally do with your child or pick something new and interesting to do together.
Here are a few inexpensive ideas for you:
- Play a Board Game There are so many fun games that each appeal to children, depending on their age.
For Preschool-Aged Children:
- Match: Excellent for building on memory skills and kids love it
- Play Dough: This is a messier option but a great sensory developer. Can be used at the table or in a big bowl to contain any mess. (See our Facebook page for a recipe) Next week’s blog post will have this recipe too.
- Candy Land, Connect Four, or Hungry Hungry Hippos: These are fun and will captivate your toddler’s attention
For School-Aged Children:
- Twister: A physically and funny active game
- Crossword Puzzles, Hangman, and Mad Libs: These are both intellectually stimulating and interesting
- Apples to Apples, Uno, or War: Card games
- Read a Chapter Book Reading out loud is such an excellent gift you can give your children from infancy through elementary school. Pick books that fit their age and interests. Here are some ideas of books found in your local library:
- Dr. Seuss – What was I Scared Of? The Zax, The Sneetches,
- Tree House Chapter book series
- C. S. Lewis – Chronicles of Narnia series
- Max Lucado- The Oak Inside the Acorn
- Do an Art or Science Project Together There are so many options for crafting. See the resource page on our website
- Campfire S’mores
- Build a potato cannon
- Slime: Kids absolutely love it and it is so easy to make. Make it together!
- Decorate a paper bag
- Leaf tracing
- Bubble blowing
- Popsicle stick signs/ facemasks (for pretend play)
- Take Pictures and Scrapbook Together Key word here is together – your child will enjoy doing this with you. Taking pictures together and then building on a scrapbook. Each visit can be something to look forward to. Record memories and good times together.
- Make a Snack This is one activity that a lot of parents do not realize that children are capable of doing. There are lots of easy snacks to make and enjoy together…
- Ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, raisins)
- Cookies (using pre-made cookie dough)
- Sliced cheese, cracker and meat sandwiches (Like a Lunchable except you put your own ingredients together and make it a project!)
Whatever activity you pick, do it intentionally and your child will be receptive. Being 100% attentive to your child during these special times while letting them lead will give you an opportunity to bond with your child and possibly open up opportunities for you to be there emotionally for them. If you regularly bring or facilitate fun activities during each visit, the visits will be richer plus the bond between you and your child will give the opportunity to be strengthened!
Enjoy your Spring Break!