Kids are challenging. Each is unique, and has special needs that you must recognize and celebrate. It’s really hard to do that in the middle of the grind. Spending one-on-one quality time with our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. Spending quality time with kids deepens relationships, creates memories, and makes them feel important and loved.
Last week, I wrote about how we spend Alone Time with each four of our children, and how that looks practically. (Read more here) We’ve created a list of ideas that we love and have tried in and outside the house. Hope they help you on your journey connecting with your kids!
GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT
Make a list of things you have around the house or yard, take a bag, and find treasures! It does require a little planning, but even if you haven’t planned, make your scavenger hunt list vague, with items such as “something green” “something sweet” “rectangular shape”.
DO AN EXERCISE ROUTINE
YouTube is filled with short stretch exercise routines that is simple or easy enough for both parent and child. Try this one, or this yoga one. Or perhaps you want to dance it out. Either-way, do it together, and have fun!
Show me a child/toddler that doesn’t enjoy your phone and taking selfies! This can be great fun, especially if your child is in charge. Try SnapChat, or even the funny faces in the camera option on both Facebook and Instagram. (Tag me in yours so I can reshare it!) #kiddates
MAKE YOUR OWN PLAY DOUGH
Even if you’re like me, and play dough, glitter and painting stays at school rather than home…this recipe was not only SUPER easy, the play dough lasts for ever, but the time spent making this with my girls, was worth every single piece of play dough I’ve ever had to remove from the mat. With my fingernails.
CUT AND CREATE A COLLAGE
I used to looooove this as a child. And although now that I’m a mom, I’m not so crazy about the mess and the glue everywhere, I still understand the need to be creative and to see your own little masterpiece come to life. Pick a theme (or have them choose it) and the magic can start there! It’s usually not something you can complete in one 15/30min Alone Time, but if have time (and a little patience) this kid-date might just to the trick.
Imaginary play is one my favourites, but can also be the most intimidating one for us as adults. (Just because we are so out of practice!) Play doctor together. Make a box fort or an epic rocket ship together or throw a couple blankets over some chairs and your secret clubhouse is done! If you are usually the reserved, serious parent, what a treat it would be to see you get really silly! Embrace something that really shows how happy you are to spend time together. It doesn’t have to be complex.
Well, no, not when you say it like that!?
I’ll admit, I’ve used this one before, but it turned out to be so special, that my kids have asked for this again and again. I pack 4 lunches every day. So when they “help”, I allow them to choose everything for the lunchbox – one fruit/veg, a sandwich, a sweet treat, and one other item. I love how creative they get and how proud they are the next day to give everyone their lunchboxes and tell them what they’ve added.
We’ve done dishes together, and vacuumed the tv room. We make it fun and I praise their work incredibly. It works. Not always. But it does 🙂
An easy kid-date and still everyone’s favourite, is the arcade. It can be as cheap or as expensive as your budget allows. We take about R100 and get arcade tokens. Then don’t say no; do whatever silly, money-wasting thing they want to do! And cheer them on. Image how much fun it would have been if your mom/dad took you and said, “Whatever ride you want to do. I’m doing it with you!” BEST. DAY. EVER!!
LET’S GET SNEAKY
Wake up before anyone else does, and sneak out for an early breakfast on the beach, park, or just your local breakfast place (please do tell your spouse!!) I’ve also snuck one of my children out while everyone else was watching TV, or getting pjs on, and went for a secret ice cream drive, or hot chocolate before bedtime.
Until I was married, I believed my parents only did this with me because (obviously) they loved me more than all my siblings. Only as an adult did I find out, my parents made all off us believe it was our little secret!! It was still a great secret and incredible memory to have.
We believe in absolute truth telling in our family. Lies (even white lies) are big no-no’s. We teach them that there are never anything they may keep from Mom and Dad, and we will never tell them to not tell the other parent. But we do teach them that there are occasions where we do not have to tell. In Afrikaans we say, “Geheime wat bou, mag ons hou”
Pull out those legos, and get creative. Build the highest single block tower if you’re that uncreative 🙂 Or just google “how to build lego” Take out some old puzzles. YouTube “Art For Kids Hub” (Seriously – it’s amazing!! We do this at least once a week!) This caterory is literally endless.
I’ve found that the best ideas come from actually just asking your child what they would like to do if they had 15 minutes alone with you.
I look forward to hearing what exciting dates you and you kid come up with. And even more, I look forward to hearing how incredible your relationships will become.
All my love,