11 Nov #12: Bonding with your children
A family vacation is an excellent and important time to improve the connection with your children. Use the time away to solidify the secure attachment your child has with you, and repair any relationship rifts that may have occurred.
I use our trips away as a chance to really understand what my kids love, don’t love, are afraid of, or dream about. I also use them to get to the bottom of behavior that is a bit off. With my therapist hat on, I gently dig to understand what might be bothering my kids and spend time working on skills like calm-down plans and speaking up for themselves.
I find all these can be done when we spend a good chunk of the day in an outdoor excursion. A natural setting helps encourage vulnerability while distracting us enough with awesome surprises.
Here are five ways to tune in and reconnect with your child while on your next vacation:
- LET YOUR CHILD PICK SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES.
Identify a few activity options available to your kids, and then let them pick the one they like. For example, our family is going to Ghana this Christmas . They have boat rentals there so I’ll ask my kids what type of water activity they would like to do: kayaking, canoeing, or water skiing. If they want to do more than one, they can choose which day to do each of those. This is also a good time to show them how to plan based on weather forecasts!
- HEAR THEM CAREFULLY.
To get close to your child, you will have to look into his heart and listen to his every small emotion. Be patient and carefully listen to all what your child wants to share with you. Sometimes, their issues may seem unimportant to you, but keep in mind that they are bigger and more valuable to them. Communicate with them and hear what they have to say.
- PLAN THE DETAILS OF YOUR TRAVEL TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN.
We picked a road trip this Christmas , partly to keep the costs down by not flying, but also to see the countryside around us. You can get out paper maps or use your computer search engine to plan driving routes and places to stop. Wherever you go or however you get there, plan out what your “out the door” times are and what you need to take with you.
- MAKE LEARNING FUN
Do some fun math by calculating how long it will take to get where you are going based on your average speed and the distance left to drive. D=RT (Distance = Rate x Time)
You can also talk about budgeting in an age-appropriate way—what is the best way to get everyone fed: Eating out? Making meals in your room? What is the total amount you hope to spend on your vacation.When children are involved in trip planning and this kind of higher-level decision-making, they feel closer to you.
- . SPEND INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH EACH CHILD.
A child will feel very special when you make an effort to spend time with just him or her. When you have this time together, pick an activity you both like to do and make sure to use that time as an opportunity to really see your child. Don’t criticize or constantly correct her—have fun goofing around.