Part 2 – How to Engage Your Children in Activities with You
5 More Examples from a Very Experienced Parent
– Create a fun video together. So many of us have spent hours working from home, doing videos, having meetings on Zoom, and interacting with machines rather than people. Why not share that experience with your child? This is not an activity for the child for whom everything has to be perfect. I did this once with one of the children living with me. I lost track of how many times it was redone. What started out as two happy, smiling people talking about what we love to do. It did not end that way. Upon reviewing the first take, her hair was sticking up. The second take had her collar wrong; third, the cat came through; fourth, her phone went off, etc. You get my drift. By the final take, we were two people, clearly unhappy with each other, no longer smiling, reciting things we liked to do like robots in a horror movie. Next time I chose the child who didn’t care what she looked like and just did it for fun. Choose wisely if you decide to do this activity. Just saying…
– Go for a walk around the neighborhood and look at other people’s cool stuff/ flowers/ landscaping etc. This helps children get a sense of the world around them. It will also make the neighbors suspicious of your family since you will appear to be casing their homes. Be sure to laugh a lot and point to special things, loudly proclaiming, “What beautiful flowers!” to throw off any nervous folks.
– Have your children choose one of their favorite videos to watch together one evening a week as a special treat. Set up snacks close by them where they can grab something your family likes. My mom used to set aside Friday nights for this. She and my sister and I would have Pepsi, oranges and pretzels while we watched the Friday night television programs. Naturally, those snacks need to be replaced with something that won’t rot their teeth, but there are lots of healthy choices your kids will like.
– Invite your children to help you plan a party. They can pick the theme and suggest games, decorations etc. If they choose something that is not age appropriate have them come up with an alternative as well so everyone still feels included in the planning process. Have you ever planned a child’s party? You know there has to be a special bond of love to ask your child to help. The colors change daily. The theme changes every couple days. The invitee list changes about once an hour. Yes, this is truly an activity that will keep your family engaged for weeks.
– Listen to book on CD together while taking a car ride. Try not to punctuate the ride with shouts of “If I have to stop this car…” or “Stay on your own side and keep your hands to yourself!” By the end of the ride you may have been the only one who heard the great CD. Of course, it could go very well and everyone could be really engaged in the story. Afterward you could always discuss the story. Like that is ever going to happen.
Sometimes it is important to laugh at things life (and kids) throw your way. Keeping a sense of humor lightens the mood in the home and can lift everyone’s spirits.
Watch for the third post in this series coming soon.