• Monica Gupta Mehta

Positive Family Time

When everyone is suddenly together all day every day, it is easy for arguments to break out more often or people to feel annoyed and stressed with one another. It is important we take breaks however possible and gain some quietude - this could be a bike ride, long walk (maintaining physical distance from others!), putting on headphones and listening to some music, or even hanging a 'do not disturb' sign around your neck for a portion of the day!


However, equally important is finding quality ways to spend time together. Not only will this provide much needed socializing time to all of us, it will help create optimism, positivity, and joy, which we all sorely need right now - children especially.


Tips for helping siblings play together well

If you have kids who seem to be constantly annoyed by each other...and we've all been there...here are some tips to get through it.

1. Bucket fillers - there is a great book, How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. Even if you haven't read it, the concept is simple - we all walk around with imaginary buckets above our heads. When people do nice things for us, our bucket feels full. When someone is mean to us or thoughtless, our bucket spills out a bit. We behave very differently when our buckets are full versus empty. One helpful activity is to have your kids draw a bucket, and then write down ways they helped fill other people's buckets all day, or ways they noticed their own getting full and empty.

2. Venn diagram - ask each child to create a list of things they enjoy playing with their siblings. Then create a Venn diagram for each pair of kids - what do they each enjoy playing with each other. Ask them to select games from the middle of their Venn diagram to play together. It would be great to update these as the days progress.

3. 5 minute timers - For siblings who very quickly begin fighting after they start playing, put a 5 minute timer. Ask them to play something simple for 5 minutes - for example, hide and seek. At the 5 minute timer, have them check in with each other...they only get another 5 minutes if BOTH of them are having fun and really want to continue.


Family Games/Activities

Here is a list of fun activities that bring everyone together:

Board games

Clue hunts (write clues for one another and hide them - one clue leads to another, to another...)

Escape room at home

Scavenger hunts

Puzzles

Movies

Documentary and discussion

Charades

Drama/Theater - act out stories from novels, put on a play

Cooking together

Home maintenance lessons

DIY crafts

Paint with Bubbles

Friendship bracelets

Tea Party

Karaoke

Make story stones (paint images on stones, make stories out of them)

Balloon painting

Alexa: trivia, escape room, games, heads up, would you rather, beat the intro, lemonade stand, animal workout: https://redtri.com/things-your-kids-will-want-to-ask-amazon-alexa/slide/1

Learn a foreign language together

Write letters and mail them

Virtual museum tours: https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Legos - make a whole city

Read alouds

Legos- give them 3 words and they build one, you guess which word they chose

Memory

Alphabet egg hunt - find the entire alphabet, hidden in plastic eggs

Torn paper collages

Doodle creativity (draw a few squiggles, they make doodles out of them)

Laser NERF tag


Family Discussions/Mealtime Games

Having every meal together is normal for some families, but new to others. Here are some fun ways to utilize meal times to bond with one another.

Trivia (family, Disney, Star Wars, academic...)

Discussion questions - lots of apps and sites full of these

Autobiographies - each meal, one family member tells what they remember of their life story

Highs and Lows; Roses and Thorns

Gratitude

Pain points - each family member says a personal 'pain point' that is bothering them, everyone offers support and solutions, or simply their own similar experiences and what they did about it

Games - Letter game, I Spy, Psychiatrist, 20 questions, Dissimilar Words (what's the connection), Human Thesaurus

Riddles and Brain Teasers

Spontuneous - say a word, name the tune that contains it!


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