It’s marvellous how easy it is to grow closer with your little ones as long as you make the time. No expensive getaways are necessary. Perfect for the coming March school holiday 2020 and all through the year.
Let’s face it. These days, everyone is on a tight schedule — from moms and dads to the average three-year-old. Children are busy with school and other activities. Parents are tuned in on providing for the family, financially, logistically and everything in between. Sometimes, the TV, iPad or mobile phone become easy options as ‘’babysitter” for the little ones so parents get some hard-won, though not entirely guiltless personal time.
Deep inside, all parents want the best for their children. The bottom line is, our busy schedules permit very little time and mind space for meaningful interactions with our children. So we have to be mindful to book in that bonding time.
Studies have shown the limitless benefits of parents spending quality bonding time with their children. These opportunities do so much more than build lasting emotional connections between parents and children. They encourage good conversations, loving hugs and a general atmosphere of security and safety can go a long way in nurturing confident and socially adept children who are more aware of themselves and the impact they can have on the world.
Catergorised by activities you can do at home, out-and-about, during the school holiday, and just about any and every day, here are six free and easy ideas to forge some meaningful bonding time with your children.
These are great for especially hot or rainy days or days that you want a respite from crowded city living.
1. Fix broken things together
Whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet, broken door hinge or faulty toy, simple home improvement projects are perfect opportunities to spend time with your children and help them develop critical and problem-solving skills – with your supervision, of course. Tell them how things work, and how to fix things safely. Talk them through the repair process as you work – you can even hand them flashlights or let them give a nail the finishing knock!
2. Organise a scavenger hunt at home
Hide items (e.g. everyday items of a specific colour, lego pieces, or jigsaw puzzle pieces) around your home and get your little ones to find them through fun clues. You’ll be impressed by their observation skills, and just how much they notice once they start searching. Cheer them on, and also throw in rewards to get them engaged.
Of course, you’ll also want your children to go outdoors and have some fun.
3. Spend a day at the supermarket... with a twist
Keep your children engaged even before they step into the supermarket. For instance, make the visit a game by creating a mission-theme challenge. In this way, your kids will be building up multiple practical and critical thinking skills – the fun way. Here are some tasks to get them learning and playing:
a. The Little Helper
Hand your kids a shopping list (perhaps with pictures) with five to 10 items, and tell them that they are going on a grocery shopping mission. You’ll need to spend a few minutes on research beforehand so that you know where the child-friendly items are.
b. Healthy Meal Scavenger Hunt
This activity’s more for older children – you can get them to pick out food, for example, food for a healthy breakfast. Then, tell them what they did right, and what they can improve on. This is a great way to teach them about meal planning and healthy food choices!
c. Observe and Memorise
Ask your children to look at an aisle and remember as many details as they can about it. Then, ask them questions about the aisle. See how many they can answer!
4. Go butterfly spotting
Explored most of Singapore’s parks? Now’s the time to create new experiences – you can even do this in your neighbourhood park. For example, try looking for butterflies and counting them as you go. If your children are not into butterflies, they can choose anything else they are excited about or comfortable with, such as dragonflies, sparrows, or even objects like recycling bins.
The school holidays are a great time to try out integrating together-time into your daily lives. These may just become activities that you will enjoy regularly:
5. Walk, don’t drive
We save time when we drive our children a short distance, say to the neighbourhood park, library, or to school for holiday lessons. However, these are actually precious minutes we lose in the name of convenience. Since the rush is off during the holidays, why not try turning these short trips into fun walking tours? You’ll spend precious moments with your children, see how they notice things grown-ups generally don’t, hold their hands, watch them see the world go by and more.
6. Spread some love in your neighbourhood
We all want to raise compassionate children, so embark on a kindness project in your own neighbourhood! Together with your children, create cards with happy pictures or well wishes and pass them to your neighbours. You can also help your neighbours out, for example, by holding the lift doors open for them, helping to unload their groceries, or simply smile and say hi. Remember, the simplest gestures can sometimes have large impacts on others’ days.
We hope these ideas inspire you to come up with more fun activities for your little ones!