When I became a mom to my ‘bonus son,’ I was immediately excited (and simultaneously stressed) about all the ways we could (and should) be spending time together. I was pressured to make up for lost time (I met him when he was eight!) and I was also curious how I could carve intentional moments with him, while running a full-time business and striving to still pursue ‘me’ and my goals. Needless to say, it was a challenge at first (as it is for all parents – especially stepparents!) but after a bit of trial and error, I realized that the best thing was to do things together.
One of the basic truths about raising children is that spending time with them is essential for their development and well-being.
There are many things you can do together as a family, but sometimes finding the time can be difficult. That’s why I wanted to create a simple list of some of ways to make those precious moments happen (and happen more frequently!).
Whether you have toddlers, preschoolers, or school-aged children, there is something on this list that will work for everyone in your family. Here are five activities for you and your child to do together:
Arts And Crafts
Arts and crafts are a great way to spend time with your child. Art, in general, is a creative outlet that lets kids (of all ages!) express themselves through different mediums like paint, markers, paper, clay, etc. You can also make the arts and crafts activity educational by teaching them how to measure or count the number of items they’re creating.
Part of being a parent is discovering your child’s passions. Arts and crafts are an excellent way to do this because it covers such a broad range of skills. And it gives your kids permission to get a little bit messy (with your help and supervision, of course!)
Even if your child doesn’t seem interested in arts and crafts, there are ways to make it a part of your routine. For example, you can find something that’s a bit more ‘sophisticated.’ Rather than a fingerpainting project, you can opt for something that integrates STEM and/or hands-on building or mechanics.
Something that we love (and do quite frequently in our house!) is Kiwi Crates. These hands-on projects for kids are incredible because they cover a wide range of skills, from visual-spatial to kinesthetic, as well as advanced learning areas like robotics and astronomy! You can opt for a monthly subscription and receive a new box at your door each month, with a different subject area and instructions for how to complete each project. It’s incredible, and can really prove to be a bonding experience for you and your child.
Want to see a crate in action? Here’s my fiancé and kiddo setting off their rocket!
Playing sports is a great way to spend time with your child. There are so many different sports that you can play together, and it doesn’t matter if you have physical limitations. For example, if you or your child has a disability, adaptive sports programs are available for just about every sport.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Golf: If you love the feeling of swinging a club and hitting the perfect shot, then golfing is the perfect activity for you and your child! You can hit the links at any time of year to enjoy this beautiful game together. It’s never too late, or early, to learn how to play either. (I suck at golf, but when I play with my family, I always enjoy it. Golf, recreationally, can be a simple way to bond without the pressure of a team sport).
- Basketball: Playing basketball with your child could be one of the best experiences ever! While it does require some technique, it’s something that you can work on together, or simply shoot around and play a casual game of ‘PIG.’ By playing together, you’re not only bonding, but improving your kid’s coordination, balance, and confidence skills.
- Swimming: Swimming is great because it’s low impact on joints but still provides all the benefits of exercise like burning calories and getting cardiovascular exercise. Although lap swimming isn’t necessarily social, you can enjoy separate-but-together time, or you can go to a beach or community pool and play games while in the water.
- Rugby: Rugby is a bit more challenging of a sport, but it’s fun for kids because when you play, you’re in constant motion! (If your child is serious, you can go the extra mile and invest in mens’ Rugby team kit designs and start your own family team!)
TV And Movies
Even though TV and movies isn’t necessarily talking bonding time, those are fun activities for your and your child. You can watch your favorite show together or go out to the theater. Media can also be valuable for teaching your kids life lessons (as hidden in your kids’ favorite shows are essential skills!). And you can use these shows and movies as a jumping-off point for meaningful conversations.
Watching too much TV is often looked down on, but visual media is an integral part of our culture.
Playing board games is a fun way to spend time with your child. Board games teach children about taking turns, social skills, and counting. They also teach children about winning and losing without being too competitive, which can make kids more likely to enjoy the game altogether.
We love board games, but if you’re going to add this to your family routine, be sure to find games that are appropriate for your child’s age!
One of the most important activities for you and your child to enjoy together is actually, simply, spending time to talk with one another. Eating dinner together is a great way to connect. You can engage with your children more deeply by asking what kind of food they like, and let them help you cook it, too!
Sometimes family dinners can be complicated, especially when kids are involved (and crazy schedules!) but it’s all about making this a part of your regular routine. Be intentional about planning and scheduling, share your favorite recipes with each other, and work together on preparing the meal. Let them help you cook and clean up, and you’ll have fun eating the meal together while also connecting with your child.
Other Activities For You And Your Child
These activities for you and your child are just some of the many ways to bond as a family! As long as you’re making time for one another and finding ways to learn what your kids enjoy, you’ll be on the right track. Remember to keep an open mind when trying new things, and don’t be afraid to let your child lead the way.
PS: Have ideas that you love? Share with us! To read more tips, head to our Mom Hacks page.