According to a study by the University of Iowa, infants and children who have a close relationship with a parent are less likely to experience emotional and behavioral issues later in life. As parents, spending time with your child in a meaningful way is always enjoyable. Here are some ideas for one-on-one activities you can do with your child.
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood. This is a great way to get some exercise, as well as explore the world around you.
- Take a trip to the library. Talk to your child about their favorite books and let them pick one or two to check out. Later, you can read these books together.
- Play dress-up. Imaginative play is not only fun, but it’s also a great way for your child to learn language concepts and practice empathy.
- Use chore time wisely. If your child is helping with household chores, it can be a great time for conversation as well. You can ask about their day and learn more about how they’re feeling.
- Share in their interests. For example, if your preschooler loves trains, you can spend a few minutes playing on their toy railroad with them, or you can make a day trip out of train-watching at your local station.
- Run errands together. Going to the grocery store or bank doesn’t need to be boring for your child. Getting your child involved and helping in some way will allow them to feel part of the trip. You may also want to build a treat into the errand, such as a break for ice cream, to make the trip memorable for them.
- Create a craft together. Making something creative and fun is an ideal bonding experience that doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.
- Cook their favorite meal. If your child has a favorite meal such as tacos or pizza, preparing it together will be especially enjoyable for them.
- Get active. Playing a game with your child such as catch, tag, or even hide and seek is an ideal bonding opportunity – and another way to stay active.
- Play video games. While physical activity is important, studies show that video games can teach problem-solving, healthy competition, and creative self-expression. Have your child teach you Minecraft, or introduce them to your own favorite childhood games.
- Write a story. Children have expansive imaginations. Together, you can create a story about a topic of your choice. Write it down and decorate your “book” for a tangible keepsake.
- Work on a puzzle. Collaborating on a small project is an ideal way to bond with your child, and help them practice cooperation and problem-solving.
- Learn something together. Whether it’s taking a family music class or visiting an educational attraction at the zoo, the shared experience of learning can be meaningful to both you and your child.
Spending quality time with your child can give them a feeling of security, which is a strong foundation for healthy development. Even 15 minutes of your undivided attention will show your child that they are important and loved. This will strengthen their self-esteem and provide benefits for later life.