After the hustle and bustle of a busy week, one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is to spend some time reconnecting over the weekend. Kick back, take it easy and soak up some family love with these bonding activities.
Start with a breakfast special
Take 10 minutes on Friday night and make up a breakfast menu on your computer. In the morning, let the kids order what they want by checking off boxes on the menu, then make their meals to order. The food doesn’t have to be fancy — pancakes, waffles, cereal, fresh fruit and so on — but the novelty of the experience will excite them.
Indulge in sensory play
Younger children thrive on different types of sensory play. For a tactile experience, mix up some cookie dough, roll it out, and shape it with your hands. If your kids don’t want to help with the baking, give them dried beans to play with in a big plastic container while you work in the kitchen.
Grab a good book
Story time is a great way to connect with kids. Gather the whole family on the couch, and read something wonderful — Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland are all great choices. Take turns reading aloud, and let younger kids act out scenes if they’d like.
Take a walk
Take one child and get outdoors for some special one-on-one time. Middle schoolers and teens especially appreciate this kind of activity — and you’ll be surprised at what they’ll share spontaneously as you walk.
Create a campfire
Spread a blanket in the family room, light a fire and roast marshmallows while you tell stories. They don’t have to be scary — and it doesn’t even have to be nighttime. Make up your own rules, and enjoy each other’s company.
Also consider camping in your own backyard >>
Send an email
You can connect with your kids even if you’re not in the same room. Write them a message about how much they mean to you and how grateful you are to know them, and send it by email. You may even find that the conversations you have online let your child open up more and share things he might not otherwise feel comfortable saying.
Take on a project
Whether it’s painting a room, decoupaging a picture frame, building a birdhouse, or anything else, creating something together is a special experience. One fun idea: Let each member of the family photograph everyone else, then create an album that shows you how each of you sees the family.
Bear in mind that whatever activity you choose should come from your heart. Commit to connecting, and your entire family will reap the benefits.