Let’s find ways to play with our children, drop screens as a family, and cultivate the importance of family play! Here are some ideas:
1. Establish a weekly family game night!
This is a time specifically designed to play, laugh, and enjoy each other. Families can discover new games to play together. And this environment can help foster communication skills, while also allowing children to learn how to cheer for each other and be good sports when wining or loosing. It can help develop cooperation skills, in learning to take turns, in how to strategize, and in working together towards a common goal. A family game night is a fun time of connection that will also build important relationship skills.
2. Take time to go on a nature walk together!
There are so many places to discover together - from nature trails to parks to the beaches. Walk together, and be mindful of your surroundings asking your children about the flowers, the trees, the birds. Just paying attention to nature together invites connection. Walks can foster a time for our kids to open up about their feelings as we are paying undivided attention to each other. There are so many benefits to doing this, not only for children but for us parents too!
3. Create an Acts of Kindness Challenge for the entire family!
This doesn't have to be anything elaborate. But as a family, list some way you can spread some kindness together. They can be something as simple as:
Let’s say hello and thank you to those we encounter at the store.
Smile at those we encounter today.
Holding the door for strangers.
Writing a thank you card to someone.
There are so many ways to nurture empathy and kindness for the entire family!
4. Start a Family Summer Tradition!
What is something you would like to establish as a family? Ride your bikes around the neighborhood. Friday pizza night. Ice cream and dance party Sunday. Family reading time and popcorn. Create space for each family member to be included and plan on doing this every Summer. Traditions helps build trust and security for our children!
5. Capture your memories!
Capturing memories of the good times helps develop a sense of belonging. It helps every family member to focus on the good. As we look back on the memories, we can be grateful for family.
Do not be overwhelmed with the list of many ideas we can establish as a family, but be encouraged that the point of these ideas is to nurture connection and play with your children! HAPPY SUMMER!
Angela Gonzalez is the Executive Director of The Nurture Place. She is a TBRI Practitioner, ACE’s Facilitator, and is Trauma Informed Certified.
Angela deeply cares about the importance for every community to become trauma-informed, in turn, creating safe and empathetic environments where each child, adult, and family can be strengthened and thrive.