As the days skip by and our children grow we become ever more aware of how precious time with our kids is and how quickly their childhood slips by. Yet our lives are busy, we have work, home and families to manage and days often seem short!
There is so much evidence that shows that moments of connection with our kids can have a really positive impact on their development, behaviour and our relationships with them. Plus, regular connection; talking, laughing and having fun together makes everyone feel good which is a recipe for happy relationships!
Kids can teach adults so much about having fun and seizing the moment and everyone could do with a bit more of that, but how do we fit it into our busy lives? One suggestion is to commit to just 5 minutes of fun and connection with your child. Whether that’s first thing in the morning, when they get home from school or before bed. We can all find 5 minutes to connect with our children and if we can make that active, engaged fun (not anything screen based!) then it can have so many benefits not only for the children but for us as parents!
So here are 10 ideas for easy 5 minutes of fun you can have a day, without needing resources, money or planning…just be in the moment….!
Tickling each other and blowing raspberries on your child can’t fail to make your both laugh. Research shows that if a child isn’t tickled in their first 2 years of life they won’t be ticklish! Who doesn’t love a tickle or hearing that throaty, hearty laugh from your child when you tickle them?! You can’t beat it for feel good!
2/ Read a story…
A bit calmer than a tickle, but it can still be one full of laughs and comedy. Try doing silly voices and really getting into the story. Children who are read to from an early age are proven to have better developed language, communication and social skills. And who doesn’t love a story. A perfect switch off from the hustle and bustle of life…..
3/ Play Snap…
I always carry around a pack of cards in my handbag as its the perfect boredom busting activity when you are stuck and out and about with the kids. For longer kids though who can’t play traditional card games yet, snap is a great one and high energy and bound to get you jumping around and laughing! For young kids its a good way to improve their concentration skills and you’ll be surprised by how quick they can be once they are used to the game! Another good game that is similar but moves snap to the next level is Dobble – highly recommended! Quick and great fun!
4/ Put on your favourite song and dance….or if you are out about in the car just sing loudly!
Music has such an amazing impact on mood and atmosphere and sharing a favourite song is an incredibly powerful point of connection between you and your child. You can be silly with your dancing and as well as making you feel good its good exercise which increases endorphins and so make you feel good and is good for you…win/win! The key is to not be shy. None else can see and your child doesn’t care how stupid you look with your dancing – in fact the more stupid you look the better! So go for it and you’ll have their admiration!!
5/ Play hopscotch…
Just like above when you do exercise together it not only makes you feel good but is good for you so what’s not to like?! Hopscotch seems to be a forgotten game, which is shame as its so quick, easy and fun! Draw out the grid with chalk on your drive, mark it out with string in the house or get creative with pens, rulers or other items round the house and challenge each other not to land on the grid outline items!!
6/ Find a swing…
Who doesn’t like the feeling of swinging really high and feeling as free as a bird? You don’t have to go far to find a park with a swing. So next time you go to the park don’t just push your child on it, sit on one next to them and have a competition to see who can swing the highest (and don’t worry about other parents in the park thinking you are bonkers; they are actually just thinking “I wish I could go and do that, it looks fun!”) If your child is too small for big swings put them in the baby swing and plan the game where you push them and have to duck out of the way every time they come swing forward. They will be giggling their head off in no time, as will you be!
7/ Play hide and seek….
The great thing about hide and seek is you can plan it anywhere and with any age kids!! (My 12 year old still loves it as much as my 2 year old!!) Play it in the house, in the garden, in the park. Its a great, 5 minute activity that gets everyone laughing!
8/ Play ‘paper, scissors, stone’….
Again this is a great game that can be done anywhere for a few moments. Paper beats stone, stone beats scissors, scissors beat paper…simple, genius, fun…what’s not to like?! And if your kids are a bit young to understand do the ‘one potato’ game where you put your hands on each others and have to take your bottoms hand out and put it on the top agin to keep it going whilst singing ‘one potato, two potato, three potato more….’.
9/ Play the ‘yes / no’ game.
You have a conversation but the other person is not allowed to say ‘yes or no’. You can ask them questions and try to trick them into saying one of these words. Its a great one to do anywhere and kids get really competitive with it! You can of course keep it going for much longer than 5 minutes (a whole car journey for example!) but sooner or later the person forgets and everyone finds it hilarious!
10/ Spin around!
I started the list with tickle and am finishing it with Spinning! Because physical movement that gets your laughing and feeling physically different is so good for your brain, heart and soul! We used to call this ‘dizzy ducks’ the I was at school. Essentially you stick your arms out and spin around. The kids will be able to spin much faster and longer than you (with no exception!!) and you might want to not eat or drink (alcohol especially!) beforehand! But I challenge you to do it and then lie on the floor and feel the adrenalin and you will feel good. And you kid will crack up seeing you doing it with them…and this is worth every moment of dizziness!
Give our ideas above a try and let us know how you get on……more than anything its about showing your kids that you are prepared to engage, be silly and be present with them…even if its just for 5 minutes a day. You’ll both feel the difference…
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