A good investment now can bring great prosperity in the future. Sure, this could be true for financial investments. But more importantly, investing time and energy in building strong family relationships will help your kids develop healthy self-esteem, a feeling of connectedness, and create memories that last a lifetime.
The arrival of spring break in BC means a lot of students will have free time in March. You may be about to jet off on a family vacation or you might continue to work your regular schedule while the kids are home, in child care, or at a day camp over the break. Either way, setting aside quality time to connect with kids will payoff big in the short and long term. Remember, it’s the little things that count!
Watch, listen or read something together (and then talk about it).
Read up on the history or culture of the place you are travelling to with your child. If you’re staying home, it could be as simple as taking the dog outside for a walk when you get home from work. Times like these, when you are actively doing something together, can naturally present good opportunities to talk about tough topics and answer questions your child might have about the world around them. Talking about current events in life, your community and in the world give you the chance to discuss your family’s values. Knowing what’s important to your family will help your child develop a sense of responsibility and their own personal values – something that can help as kids grow into the risk-taking teen years.
Make meals together.
Getting kids to help you with grocery shopping and cooking can take the ‘chore’ out of meal planning. It is a way to spend time with your children while teaching them important life skills. You could even start a garden with your children and harvest the vegetables and fruits you grow together! When travelling abroad, visiting a market or grocery store in a new area can be an opportunity to learn about and try produce you may not normally see at home. Remember to lead by example and choose healthy, delicious tasting foods to show kids that food is both enjoyable and fuel for the body. Eat meals together so that everyone gets a chance to catch up and chat about the day. Click here for tips on making family mealtime part of your routine.
During spring break, the daily routine which normally keeps everyone organised, well fed and rested can get tossed aside. These tips can help keep the extra free time from turning into bad habits.
Schedule one-on-one time.
Spending one-on-one time with one or both parents can be a treat for your child. Ask your child what activity they’d like to do and plan a time to make it happen. If your child likes biking, you could go for a bike ride after dinner. Or, while on family travels, explore new towns by renting bikes. The activity itself is less important than the shared fun and opportunity to chat one-on-one. Read more on connecting with your school aged child or on staying connected with your teenage child.
Plan a date with Grandma and Grandpa.
Spring break can be an opportunity for your children to spend time and bond with their grandparents or another older family member. Both young and old people benefit from intergenerational connections; it’s an important way to gain understanding and respect between generations. Read these ideas for building connections between grandparents and grandchildren.
If you have a busy work week during your child or teen’s spring break, consider signing them up for a spring break day camp. These programs can be a great way to keep kids active, having fun, making new friends and learning more about their interests. Check with your local recreation centre to see what they offer.
Working on the relationships you share with your children is not a onetime investment. It is ongoing effort that is rewarding and enriching beyond all else. Strong family relationships can go a long way towards building your child’s confidence, protecting them from harm, and helping them grow into well-adjusted adults. Visit our parenting section to read more.