Our lives have dramatically changed in the last few months. Sometimes, it seems as if life will never be normal again, but in some ways that might be a good thing.
Because many people are spending extra time at home, there are more opportunities to reconnect with our spouses and children that may not have been available otherwise.
Here are some great ways you can strengthen your parent/child connection at home:
Stress is prominent and at times, unavoidable. Teaching our kids how to effectively deal with stress and become more mindful in their own lives will benefit them for years to come.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing focus back to our bodies and breath and being present in the moment.
Teaching mindfulness can help children become:
- More observant
- Better listeners
- More aware of others
- Gain more patience
- Learn gratitude
Try these activities at home:
- Bubbles or Pinwheels. Holding a pinwheel or a bubble wand, slowly take deep breaths in and out to move the pinwheel or blow bubbles. This activity teaches kids to focus on their breathing and helps calm and refocus busy minds and bodies. Plus, who doesn’t love a good bubble blowing session? For a great recipe for homemade bubbles, click HERE.
- Create a “Safari.” Make an indoor safari with available stuffed animals, posters, plants and anything on hand. Create a jungle of learning. Talk about what you see, smell, touch and hear to encourage children to pay attention to their environment.
- Snack Time. Urge your child to eat mindfully. Talk about the textures, flavors, smells, and colors of the foods you’re eating. Teach them about the farmers, harvesters, and produce workers who make it possible for you to have those snacks. For 50 great snack ideas to make with your kids click HERE.
- Musical literacy. Play a random song. Listen to the lyrics and music. Discuss your reactions to the song and what it’s saying to you. To up the ante, play a musical guessing game by clicking HERE.
- Word games. Have your child think of a word that is soothing to them. Have them focus on that word, saying it to themselves as they breath in deeply and breathe out completely. Practice for one minute, working up to five minutes.
- Journal. Create a decorated gratitude journal. Ask your child to focus on a few things every day they’re grateful for. Talk about their thoughts and why they’re grateful for those things. You may be surprised by what you learn from your child. For some templates and tips on creating your journals click HERE.
- Create self–care routines. It’s never too early to help your child create routines to take care of themselves emotionally and physically. It can give them a sense of calm during uncertain times.
Spending time outside helps to boost your mood, strengthens your immune system, and reduces stress.
- Family walks. Take a break from the news and social media by getting everyone in the family, pets included, outside for a nature walk. To find great walking trails near you click HERE.
- Create a beautiful yard. If you have a yard, there’s always something to do outside. Have the entire family pitch in on a project such as raking fall leaves or planting new gardens.
- Remember simpler times. Create hopscotch or duck duck goose games. Get a hula hoop and get moving. You’ll relive favorite childhood memories and your kids will have a great time too.
Finding new ways to interact with your children can help boost creativity and encourage them to use their imagination. Here are some great indoor activities you can try:
- Family yoga. Do a YouTube search and have the whole family join in. You’ll gain flexibility and reduce stress. Click HERE for a great beginner’s yoga lesson.
- Chore games. Make a game out of regular chores. Award prizes for best work, fastest completion time or cleanest room.
- Hot lava. Pretend the floor is hot lava. Scatter pillows and blankets around the room. Jump from pillow to pillow to avoid the hot lava.
- Camping. We all remember camping in the living room. Set up blankets and pillows to build a fort. Spend time together telling campfire stories or making indoor s’mores. To create a great indoor fort, click HERE.
- Dance it out. Have a dance party. Take turns choosing music and teach each other dance moves.
Some important things to remember as we find our new normal:
- Maintain your routine as much as possible.
- Take care of yourself. If you’re not at your best, you can’t do your best for everyone else.
- Have your kids pitch in. Give age appropriate chores.
- Give yourself a break. Taking a 20-minute brain break with BrainTap is a great way to meditate with no effort on your part. For a free trial of the BrainTap Pro App, click HERE.
When we take the time to build on what we’ve been given, we can experience some amazing results. These activities are sure to help you reconnect with your children and make memories that will last a lifetime.