The Importance of Family Connection Activities
Did you know that creating a closer connection with your children can help them become more engaged learners? With everything that is happening, focusing on activities that bring a sense of connection to your family is especially important. Children feel a sense of love and belonging when we take the time to connect with them. Connecting with children helps them to feel that they are being understood, and that they are safe.
When a child feels safe, they can relax their defences, and they become more willing to cooperate, which facilitates learning. The mind isn’t stuck in that “fight, flight, or freeze”mode; instead, it is ready to engage and accept new experiences. This is very different from a person under stress, when the body and mind are focused on responding to emergencies. This is why stress makes it difficult for your child to learn as effectively, and why building bonds and connections during learning is so important.
ACTIVITIES THAT FOSTER CONNECTION AND LEARNING
As a parent, you know your child best, and what their interests are, so start with what your child is passionate about. Find books, games, activities and places to visit that focus on their interests, and take some time to get involved and learn the lingo of their favourite activities. This will not only demonstrate to your child that you care, but will also give you a much broader perspective of what is involved in their activities.
For example, when one of my boys first took an interest in taking things apart, I was not too impressed. But as I asked questions, took him to the thrift store for parts and learned about his plans, I was amazed at what he was learning about. Now that same boy has built a small tractor from spare parts and is working on creating his own computer.
Reading as a family
Reading together is a wonderful way to connect with your child and encourage learning. Children of all ages love being read to, and as your child gets older, you can take turns reading to each other. Stories have a way of drawing us in and having a shared adventure. With a wide range of authors and topics available, your whole family can let their imagination take flight and learn - even while snuggled together on the couch.
Baking with children
Baking is a tasty way to incorporate reading, math, science, healthy living (and more!) into a fun and engaging activity. Trying out recipes from all over the world is a fun way to discover new foods. Children love to be independent, so teaching life skills in the kitchen is a perfect way to foster that independence. The best part is that you will not only have fun practicing a variety of subjects, you’ll also come away with a delicious reward at the end!
Learning through play
Playing games is a wonderful pastime that can involve the whole family. Games can engage young learners in strategy, problem-solving, and other valuable skills. Without even realizing it, your children are learning - and having a lot of fun together. Another added benefit of playing games is that children are building social skills through communication and cooperation as they interact with each other.
Spending time in nature
Nature always connects families. Whether they're playing, hiking, or exploring, there is no doubt your child will learn something new from visiting the outside world. Gross and fine motor skills are put to the test while exploring in a natural setting, while discoveries of plants and animals encourages their curiosity. Simply being out in nature engages all the senses.
When we keep in mind the importance of developing connections and relationships in children's activities, it creates possibilities for deeper and richer forms of communication, learning, and joy. Your child will become a curious lifelong learner because you model those same traits in your interactions together.