By Wangeshi Wambua
As I sat musing in the quiet great forest amidst the naked trees with clusters of twigs, I smiled and thought of how important family bonding time is. I was here appreciating nature and just pausing for a moment thinking of how blessed I am. I was overtaken with emotion reminiscing the good times we have together in the limited time we have. This gave me an idea to share some of the activities we do together to bond and share quality time.
As parents, we get engrossed in our hectic schedules and we barely create time for our little humans. We must make time to connect with our children. Schedule solo dates to just sit and have a chat about anything. As a parent allow yourself to be vulnerable and share openly about some life experiences, who knows maybe your child is going through a similar situation and they have nobody to open up to. You can start conversations that will let both of you talk more and this way you learn more about your child. I take the girls on solo dates, and we get to chit chat and just enjoy each others company. We laugh and just let loose. We also do family dates and sample different restaurants. These enhance our family relationships.
We often play games and most often they win. The idea here is to get down to their level and share in the fun. Some games we play are brick game, Kahoot, different card games like UNO, spoon, board games like scrabble, monopoly, snakes and ladders, Lido, and the question game “would you rather?”. There is a wide range of games to play. There is power in engaging in these games together with our children. As a parent you are able to understand their perspectives in solving problems and this builds connection among family members and is a great way to destress. The board games stimulate the brain and help in developing cognitive skills like decision making and strategic thinking.
In connection to playing games, engage in outdoor activities like taking walks, swimming, work out together. These sessions have been our family favorite. We take evening walks to Mama Ngina drive and finish our walking with a treat of either madafu (coconut water ), ice cream or Kachiri/Muhogo(deep fried cassava crisps).
Plan to do things together, be intentional. You can decide to set goals together. For example journaling, reading a book, organizing personal space, working out the list is endless. We set out to work out together and the experience was priceless. We motivate each other and bond more.
Spa dates are a healthy way to show self love and appreciation to oneself. I love to have manicures and pedicures. I bring the girls along along and they truly enjoy it. It has enhanced our relationship and bond.
I charge the girls with the task of writing down the grocery list and packing the shopping bags. They check in the pantry and the to buy list on the fridge door, what needs to be replenished. We then step out for shopping in the market or at the shopping malls. These shopping times allow us to interact and have money conversations. This way, we limit what is purchased and we stick to the shopping list.
We prepare meals as a team. This is a common practice as I love and enjoy cooking. I love to explore different recipes. I am always delighted to see each one at their working space assisting me to either chop the onions, tomatoes, carrots, measuring the cake ingredients, greasing a cake pan or grating the cheese. The girls enjoy these activities. They have learnt a lot on matters cooking, arranging the ingredients, food presentation and setting up the table.
Movie dates. Schedule some time to enjoy their favorite tv programs and movies. I have seen this as a nice way to get closer and get more intimate with our children. This has also helped me get to understand what the children love at an individual level. This movie dates are a great way to bond and spend time together.
Crafts are a great way to build and nature the creativity of our children. We have done several home improvement projects e.g. the paper flowers we made with the girls. This is a better way to harness the creative juices in our children and preoccupy them.
I plan to do a slumber party where we shall dress in our pajamas and have some candid talks and share heart to heart.
I hope you can get to be intentional and get more involved with your children or nieces. Enjoy the few pictures of our moments.