Fun ideas for quality time with your child

I just wrapped up my series on Anxiety Disorders. In the month of August, I'll be writing about ways to strengthen the parent-child bond. 

So it's summer time, and after a few weeks of summer break, you probably have no clue what to do with your kids. The kids are at home watching countless hours of TV. But to make things worse, sometimes the heat is so bad that you just don't want to step outside. Or maybe you've completely run out of ideas. Well, you're in luck today. The great thing is that you don't have to be a professional to have fun with your kids. Here are some simple, but fun ideas for quality time with your kids this summer.

1) Board games: I know we are in the technology era and most kids would rather be glued to their cell phones than have face to face contact with a human. But trust me, after a few tries, your kids will forget that technology ever existed (okay maybe I'm exaggerating a bit). Luckily in the Murrieta and Temecula area there are lots of options. Go to your local Target, Walmart, Toys R Us or even the Dollar Tree and grab as many board games as you can. I love Monopoly, The Game of Life and a good old fashioned Uno. You can play for hours and hours. There'll be lots of laughs, your kids will learn friendly competition and you can even have a hearty conversation while playing together. 

2) Water play: Okay so I know California is always in a drought and we aren't encouraged to waste water. So go to the store, grab a kiddie pool and fill it up with water. You can also get water balloons, water guns and some swim gear. Channel your inner child and watch your child's face light up. Your child will be more than happy to see you running around the yard-or the street-dodging his water balloons. It's also great cardio.

3) Imaginary Play: Depending on your child's age, it's important to continuously feed his imagination. It's great for brain health and it's also a great way to get to know your child better. You see as a parent, you want to develop a strong bond with your child over time. That's one of the things that keeps your child out of a gang, reduces his risk for drug use and raises his or her self esteem. Quality time gives him or her a feeling of importance and safety in the home. So while you're chopping up vegetables or cleaning the house, imagine that you're a huge dinosaur raiding the city. Start off the story and encourage your child to continue it. You'll learn how truly fascinating a child's mind is.

And if your child is a bit older, play truth or dare. Ask your child questions like "If I could meet anyone in the world, I'd meet...." or "If I could travel anywhere in the world, I'll travel to..." Get creative. 

 4) Good old fashioned car conversations: When you're shuttling your child out and about to camp, recitals and appointments, use the time in the car to get to know him. Ask him what he likes about himself, how his school year was, what he doesn't like about school and how he genuinely feels about living in your home. These are deep conversations that help you better understand the inner workings of your child's mind. Because you're not face to face with him, it's a lot easier for him to answer the questions truthfully. Just be careful about your reaction if he tells you something shocking.

The more quality time you spend with your child, the more you send the message that he or she matters to you. I know you can't spend every waking hour with your kids, so make the time you have with them count. Quality time together as well as quality conversations strengthen the bond you have and ensures that your child can run to you when things go wrong.

I run an 8-week parenting skills class in Murrieta. It covers the developmental stages of children, teaches parents how to take care of themselves even though they're busy, talks about how to spend quality time with your kids, ways to teach your child useful information and the greatest part is you get the support of other group members. If you're interested in enrolling in this parenting class in Murrieta, give me a call at 951-905-3181. It's never too late to strengthen your relationship with your child.