A Little Parenting... 10 Activities to Stengthen Your Family

by Janet
I have six kids, three biological, three adopted.  Although I've had my adopted kids since they came home from the hospital, raising them still offers more challenges than raising my biological kids has. One of the things I spend time thinking about as I parent these little guys is how to build the closeness and attachment that will make them WANT to be good people.

These are some activities and ideas to build attachment that I've gathered through the years.  Okay, the "cheese" factor (as my kids might say) on some of these is a little high, but deep down inside, don't most of us like (and need) a little “cheese” in our lives now and then?

1)  The 10-20-10 rule.  Try to give each child ten minutes of your attention in the morning, twenty minutes after school, and ten minutes before bed.  Keep this time positive- listen to their joys and worries, play a game, read stories, do things you both enjoy.  It helps kids remember that you love them even when they’ve heard lots of negatives throughout the day.  Click "read more" below.
2)  Spin the bottle (not that kind ;).  Played like traditional spin the bottle.  When the bottle stops, the spinner tells what he/she likes about that person.  "What I like about you is ____________". or "The last nice thing you did for me was _________" or "You make me happy when you  _________".

3)  I Spy.  Print out some slips of paper that say “I spy with my little eye ______________________________________.”   Have members watch each other and fill out a slip every time they notice family members doing something good.  Read the slips out loud at the end of the week.  Have some kind of reward for the person who “spies” the most good things.  

4) Foot massages.  Take turns giving foot massages to each other.  Pair off, and then switch.  Use nice smelling lotion and play relaxing music.  

5) Kids date-night.  Have a special date night once each month with a child and mom and/or dad.  Set a budget and have the child plan what they would like to do within that budget.

6) Family Activity Chart.  Plan a family activity (park, movie, etc) that the family would all enjoy.  Keep a chart of good things that are said or done by family members during the week.  When the chart is filled with a minimum number of “good marks” (stickers, etc) the family members enjoy the agreed upon activity.

7) Secret Servers.  Each member of the family draws the name of another family member from a bowl.  During the week, each member does one act of secret service for the person whose name they drew each day.  Put a sign up on the door or fridge that says something like “Have you done your service today?” as a reminder to all.  At the end of the week, each person writes a note to the person they served telling who they are and at least three nice things they have noticed about the person they served.  

8) Family Fishbowl.  One family member sits in the middle of a circle of family members.  Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. During that time, family members say as many nice things about the person in the middle as they can.

9)  Love Bucket.  Place a label on a plastic bucket or glass jar that says "Love Bucket".  Buy M & M's or peanuts.  Every time someone says something nice about or to another family member put a few treats in the bucket.  Everyone watches the treat supply in the bucket grow. At an agreed upon time, goodies are shared and the process begins again.

10) And last but not least….Family rituals.  These are incredibly important to kids.  My kids love and need these.  One son loves pancakes for breakfast and wants them nearly every day.  I make them, because they make him feel happy and loved (don’t worry, I also make him eat eggs).  When he was younger, often the last thing he would say to me at night was  “Pancakes in the morning?”  Think about the traditions and rituals that are important to your kids, and see if you can think of a few more to add to your list.  

Have other ideas for things that work in your home?  I’d love to hear about them.


Sarah said...

Thank you for these great ideas!

Kristin said...

I love these! Thanks so much for sharing!


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