Five Out-of-the-Box Ways to Connect With Your Child

By Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

We know our children – we raise them, we love them, we struggle with them, we grow with them. But, as the years go by, things change. From tiny fingers wiggling underneath bathroom doors to the slamming sound of bedroom doors, parenthood is nothing is not inconsistent.

The connection also changes as children become more independent. This isn’t a bad thing: it’s what we want – for our kids to spread their wings and fly. Besides, just because the connection changes, that doesn’t mean it weakens.

Yet, sometimes, the fostering of that connection requires a little creativity (and effort on our part). If you’re looking for some out-of-the-box activities to do with your child, consider one of the following:

Share your diaries: If you kept a diary when you were young (and then kept the one you kept), share it with your child. Kids like to know who their parents were when they were their age. If your child keeps a diary, you can ask that they share theirs too. Some kids will – they’ll roll with the punches – but, if your child prefers not to share, respect their boundary. That doesn’t mean you can’t read them an entry about the embarrassing crush you had on your English teacher in seventh grade.

Plant a garden: Early summer is a great time to plant tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, cucumbers, and eggplant. It doesn’t matter if you’re all thumbs instead of green thumbs – the time spent together reaping, sowing, and pointing out worms is what counts. When it’s time to harvest, make a meal using food from your garden and feast on something you and your child created together.

Read the same book: If your child’s a reader, encourage them to pick a book that you can read together. You don’t need to read to each other, but try to stay on a similar pace – a chapter a day, for instance. That way, you can easily discuss without anyone giving away spoilers (i.e., the butler did it).

Take a ceramics class: Pottery is being heralded as the new yoga because of its mind-benefiting, meditative elements. If you’re child’s old enough, sign up for a ceramics class you can take as a pair – use your kiln to connect with your kin.

Teach them a skill:  You have a skill your child wants to learn. It could be anything, something practical – like how to tie their shoes – to something artistic – like how to write a poem. Even something silly helps spark a connection: teach your child how to balance a spoon on their nose….and then show them how to wash the dishes.

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