What activities can I do with my child that also promote connection?
- Hide and Seek. Verbalize scripts such as “I love you and will always find you” or “You’ll always be able to find me.” If your child can tolerate it, give him a great, big squeeze hug whenever you find one another.
- Pretend play with role playing. Whether you’re using blocks, cars, dolls, or dressing up yourself, the imagination is a much safer place to work out some of life’s bigger problems. Kids will often be much more available to learn and create new motor memories for good behavior when pretending to be someone else. It’s also fun to reverse who is the parent and who is the child so they get a dose of their own medicine. It’s also a painfully honest critique of how you’re doing as a parent.
- Dress Up or Salon. If you have a girl, let her dress you up or style you. It’s a situation that gives felt control but also promotes bonding.
- Superman or Airplane. For younger kids, flying them on your feet while you are lying on your back is great fun. It meets the needs of a lot of sensory kids and promote eye contact.
- Staring contest. This is a great way to practice eye contact. The competitive nature of kids usually overwhelms their despise for connection. This is a great one for older kids.
- Telephone. While producing great laughs, this game promotes voice regulation and requires players to get physically close to each other in a non-threatening way.
- Simon Says. This games is great for having kids practice listening. It also exercises impulse control.
- Mother May I? Kids get practice asking respectful questions and parents get practice saying joyful yesses. Win-win!
- Mirror. Take turns leading. The follower mirrors the other person’s movements. This is great practice for kids with motor dyspraxia.
What is your favorite playful connection activity?
- Creative Arts and Play Therapy for Attachment Problems
- Attachment Play: How to solve children’s behavior problems with play, laughter, and connection
- Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play
- I Love You Rituals