Even though your family has probably been spending more time at home than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your children may not have as close of a bond as you would like. It’s easy for everyone to get lost in their own worlds, lock themselves in their rooms, and forget that interacting with the people they live with can be fun and fulfilling. It can also be hard to find activities that your kids will enjoy and that enrich both of your lives. Let’s take a look at a few fun activities that can help you feel closer to your kids.
Eating Dinner Together
This is one of the simplest activities you can do to become more bonded as a family. By having dinner together as a family, you get to use that valuable time to share what happened during each of your days and talk about important topics. Evidence even shows that children who regularly eat meals with their families are healthier, do better in school, and are less likely to drink, smoke, or get involved in drugs. Parents can also inadvertently benefit, as evidence shows that family meals can help ward off parental stress.
Working on Cars Together
Having a project of any kind that you can work on with your kid can be a great way to bond. If working on or fixing up cars is a hobby of yours, try to get your child involved in the process. Even if they’re too young to safely handle the tools, you could have them watch you as you work on the car and talk to them about the mechanics or histories of cars. Kids can learn a lot this way. If you’re interested in a particular kind of car, teach its history to your child. For instance, in 1964 an AC Cobra Coupe famously reached 186 mph on a British motorway. If the AC Cobra Coupe is one of your favorite cars, take the time to learn about it so that you can share that knowledge with your child.
Eventually, your child will be old enough to get into the hard work of the project with you. With a knowledgable background on automobiles nestled into their minds, they can more safely start working on cars with you. As they start using different tools and techniques, be sure to teach your child about them. You’ll want to show them the difference between a standard crescent wrench and a torque wrench, which was invented about 100 years ago and is used to precisely apply a specific torque to a fastener, such as a nut or bolt. These lessons are what will really bond you two together during this activity, as your child will remember all of the things they learned from you as well as the finished car you worked so hard on.
Camping in the Backyard
While a trip to a campsite is another great bonding activity, pitching a tent in your backyard requires way less planning and preparation. It is also a safer option while the COVID-19 pandemic continues since you’re not even leaving home. All you’ll need is a tent and/or sleeping bags, bug repellent, a flashlight, and some snacks. You can cook a simple meal of hotdogs and s’mores over a hot grill or fire pit on a long skewer. As you sit around the fire or cuddle up inside of the tent, you can tell stories, sing songs, or gaze up at the stars together.
Doing Chores Together
This may not be the most exciting activity, but working hard to create a better home to live in quickly bonds people together. Try to get your kids involved in doing regular chores with you, like washing and drying the dishes or folding the laundry. By doing them together rather than asking your kids to do chores on their own, you get to have conversations and teach them new things.
Your kids will learn important information about home maintenance and get an idea of what a homeowner can fix and what requires a professional. For instance, you can teach them about how gas and electricity gets into your home and what you need to do to keep that system functioning well. While servicing gas lines and natural gas appliances requires someone to go through advanced training and certification, you can give your kids a short science lesson on gas and how it makes your home run. Whether you’re simply raking leaves together in the fall or teaching them about chimney upkeep in the winter, even the most menial tasks can be opportunities for bonding.
Having Scheduled Family Movie Nights
You and your kids may sit down every night to watch television together, but a planned movie night can add a new level of fun to an ordinary evening. This is especially true with many movie theatres still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can make it feel like you’re all at the movie theatre by serving popcorn, candy, and soft drinks. You could even create fake tickets and have one of you act as the ticket-taker at the movie theatre to really make it like the real thing. If you decide to have regular movie nights, be sure to rotate who gets to pick the movie so that everyone gets the chance to see their favorite.
Family bonding doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Instead, focus on how you can make the time you spend together meaningful and memorable. With these guidelines in mind, you can turn any activity into an opportunity for bonding and bring your family even closer together.