Divorced dads can easily feel the crunch when it comes to the time they have to spend with their kids. The precious moments are limited. How can you ensure everyone has a good time? Should you focus on the childrens’ enjoyment rather than rule enforcement? Following are ten suggestions for quality entertainment and family fun, with a bit of personal growth and responsibility thrown in as well…
1. Movie Night. This is an easy one and can be inexpensive if held at home. Choose a movie together, make some popcorn and settle in. You can expand on this experience by discussing the film afterward (especially if someone in the family read the book first!) or embarking on your own adventures to mirror those you saw on the screen.
2. Go Outdoors. Take a hike, go fishing or camp out overnight in a local state park. While you’re out there in the fresh air, you might clean up some litter, learn about nature and use the opportunity to teach the kids about personal safety and responsibility.
3. Watch or Play Sports. Throw the football or baseball in the back yard. Or, if you’d rather be spectators, take the kids to a high school game for some reasonably-priced entertainment with a home team emotional investment.
4. Game Night. Board games are a great way to build skills and share some laughs as a family. This option works especially well if the kids have friends over. It ensures some time together when they might otherwise be off playing on their own.
5. Roller Skating. Does it get any better than loud music, exercise and a concession stand all under one roof? This type of activity allows the kids to feel a sense of autonomy while you’re still there to supervise, and they’ll probably check in regularly to ask for quarters and cash. Skating offers a big bonus in terms of quality time if you have to teach them to do it.
6. Family Meals. Individual preferences and requests to eat out can bring mealtime stress to your emotions as well as your wallet. Try turning food into a family affair by taking turns choosing some of your favorite recipes and let the kids help in the kitchen. Another option is for you to create a unique mealtime tradition that is specific to Dad’s House: dinner in your PJs, breakfast in bed, green eggs and ham… brainstorm ideas with the kids to come up with something you can all enjoy.
7. Science Projects. Science from a book at school might be boring, but science experiments at home are engaging. There are many experiments you can do with items that are probably in your kitchen right now. Have you ever made ooblek? Or a baking soda and vinegar volcano? How about bendable chicken bones?
8. Try a New Hobby. You could opt for anything from sailing to model cars to needlepoint. Learn something new together and you might find an activity that will bring you hours of smiles for many years to come.
9. Tool Time. No, I’m not suggesting you watch reruns of a popular 90s sitcom. Buy the kids their own tools and allow them to help you around the house. Teach them how to measure and paint. Let them help you fix leaky faucets and change light fixtures. Not only will they be happy to assist with some grownup chores, you’ll give them skills to use later in life.
10. Volunteer Together. Indulge your kids’ passions and help them make a difference in your community. You could help out at a soup kitchen and animal shelter or nature restoration efforts. Together, you can build a better world.
How do you ensure happy and healthy bonding during the time you spend with your kids? Leave a comment!