31 ways to connect as a family during stressful times

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Blog, COVID19, Crisis, Family, Parenting

“The parent-child connection is the most powerful mental health intervention known to mankind.” – Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Connection is more important than ever. This is such a tough time with schools and workplaces being shut down, routines changing, and the stress around COVID-19.   With everyone stuck in the house, it can also begin to feel overwhelming. Thoughts like “I don’t think we can do this much longer” might start to come up. 

We now have this opportunity to connect, even if you are just setting aside 20 to 30 minutes a day! This connection time is just about “being” versus “doing,” so don’t stress yourself with planning or problem-solving! Just be present with your child in whatever activity they or you choose.  

Here are some fun/creative ideas that you can do with your child during this time, to give some “fun breaks” while remembering to take some time to connect (which your kiddos need even more right now to help them regulate!).  

Family Connection Ideas

  • Art projects
  • Back Rubs – Let your child tell you if the pressure is too much or too little
  • Board games/ Matching games
  • Build a fort
  • Card games (these are classic and fun!)
  • Cooking together or having a Cooking Contest
  • Cotton Ball or Feather?- Have your kid tell you which sensation they prefer on their hands, arms, and/or feet
  • Cotton Ball Fight- Split up into two teams and make a line (with tape).  Set a timer and whichever team has the least cotton balls on their side wins!
  • Dance party
  • Feather Tickle – Help them figure out where they are the most ticklish
  • Guess the snack – Use different snacks and have them close their eyes to guess which one it is
  • Hand Clapping games (Miss Mary Mack, Patty Cake, for the older kids- anyone remember “Slide”?  Look on YouTube!)
  • Hide and Find – Variation where you hide fun objects instead for child to find (maybe a small treat too!). Can say getting hot, warm, cold, etc. to help out, if needed.
  • Hide and Seek – You can have stuffed animals join in the fun to team up with you in finding your kid, and then all celebrate when finding them!
  • Keep balloons in the air —more than one. Count out how many hits each person took before balloon/s fell (teamwork!).  For older kids, to increase the challenge, only use certain body parts, like knees, elbows, head, etc.
  • Use tape to create a “Laser” obstacle course down a hallway
  • Make bracelets or necklaces
  • Make your own mandala and give it to someone else to color (there are some YouTube videos to guide this)
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Make sensory bins
  • Make slime
  • Manicure and/or pedicure– soak their feet/hands in water and do their nails! They can always take off the polish afterwards if they don’t want to keep it on
  • Painting activities
  • Pass the funny face- each person takes a turn making a funny face that is passed to the next person around the circle
  • Pillow fight
  • Play dough fun, even making homemade play dough
  • Pop the bubbles- Would have to be in an area you are okay with blowing bubbles
  • Simon Says OR Red/Yellow/Green Light games
  • Singing songs together- AND/OR together making up a song about your child 🙂
  • Trash can basketball
  • Write letters to elderly in homes who cannot have visitors

Maybe do one a day! These 31 ways to stay connected will get your stress level down as you smile and play together!

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