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The Father Factor


7 Ways To Connect With Your Kids

Posted by Ryan Sanders

Spending time with your kids can be difficult. I’m talking the real, intentional time. I don’t mean the time like when you’re in the same room with your kids but you’re on your phone streaming twitter while your daughter plays in the background because you have a job in social media and must retweet that quote from that guy who said that thing about fathering…wait…I flashed-back to last night at my house. Sorry.

7 ways to connect with your kids

The challenge is to actually spend time and undivided attention with our kids.

Here are seven ideas to help get you started:

1) Gather the Family for a Meal
Enjoying a family meal together is one of the best ways to connect as a family. It’s an opportunity to discuss the highs and lows of the day and talk in detail about what you’re children are learning each day. Check out our tips to help you make family mealtime easy and meaningful!

2) Read to Your Child
If you have young children, read to them. Use deep voices for some character and high voices for others. Be animated. Your child needs to hear his/her dad’s voice. 

Reading allows for bonding with your children like nothing else.

Think about how close you have to be to read to someone. You wouldn’t sit and read to a stranger on a bus. That would be weird. Reading is a great way to connect with your child, if only for a few minutes. Be warned, you won’t be able to read only one book. Your child will beg for more!

For older child: read the same books your children are interested in. This will take extra effort, but at least take time to discuss the latest book they’re reading. Ask good questions about the books and characters like, "Which character in the book is your favorite? Why?" The point is to connect with your child on a deeper level than asking “how was your day?” Then they answer, “Good.” And then the talk ends.

NFI’s tips on making reading fun will work well if you feel like you don’t know how to get started with this activity.

3) Interact in Play With Your Child
Do something with your child that he/she enjoys. Let them pick the thing. Whether it’s getting on the floor and playing with dolls or trucks, get on your child’s level and play. The simpliest thing you can do now will reap massive rewards and open lines of communications for later. 

For older child: do something they like, such as playing video games or walking around the mall – be invested and interested in your child intentionally for this activity.

4) Dad-Kid Dates
Whether you have a son or daughter, take time to go out for ice cream, eat together or take a walk. The point is to spend individual time with your child. If you have more than one child, work toward children getting their own individual time with you. (If you can pull this activity off with multiple children, please write us in the comments and give your advice on making this happen!)

5) Get Active
Engage your children in physical activity. It will bond you together and help build healthy habits. From riding a bike, basketball, or walking in a nearby park, you can be intentional about getting out from the normal routine and get active this week. 

6) Get Creative
This may be as simple as coloring together if you have young children or involving your child in fixing something around the house. Consider cooking together for this activity. From the trip to the store to preparation, use the time to connect with your child and talk about life while you do something that you have to do anyway – eat!

7) Family Game Night
Did you have family game night growing up? Whether your family played board games or not when you were a kid, the idea here is to have fun and get the family together and playing. We have suggestions for games to suit all ages and ideas to make game time fun for your child.

At NFI, we know that children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social and emotional level when measured by social science researchers. Keep up the good work, dads!

The Father Factor Blog

photo credit: kevin dooley

Topics: relationships, fatherhood, new dads, family, military children, community-based, team usa, lifestyle, dad, parent, DadGames12, team dad, gold medal dad, olympics, fatherhood program tips, parenting tips

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