It’s the middle of March and you know what that brings? It’s time for the Week of the Young Child at Fisher Auditorium, this Sunday March 18th from 12:30-3:30. If you’ve been before, you know what to expect and if you haven’t joined us, please take time to see what fun you’ve been missing!! This year our entertainment will be the Jungle Safari Puppet Show at 1:00 and again at 3:00. There will be many hands on activities to occupy busy preschoolers in addition to the performances. If you have any questions, contact Corey at Care 4 Kids (firstname.lastname@example.org). Quail Crest is again donating plants for children to take home and grow and many area agencies are involved.
If you have young children at home, what’s your favorite activity to do? If your children are older, what memories do they have? One of the challenges of our fast paced society is that we don’t take time to enjoy the time we spend together and research that I’ve recently read emphasizes that spending quality time together is a way to show your children that they matter and are important to the family. What are some of the things that we can do together? Here’s a few that the Child Development Institute suggest:
- Family meal time. This could become a family event from the selection of the menu, preparing the food and table, serving, eating together, and cleaning up. During the meal, children and adolescents can be encouraged to talk about what is interesting to them, and not necessarily the usual topics like school and work.
- Homework. If parents can spend positive time with their children without conflict, this can be a good bonding experience where the school work itself is just a means to the end.
- Sports. Whether it is playing catch in the yard, going to the gym, or watching the child play or perform, active and positive involvement is rewarding.
- Hobbies such as drawing, crafts, collecting are great fodder for conversation.
- Board games and cards allow for the family to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
- Extracurricular activities such as Girl/Boy Scouts, 4H, or the debate team, can be a great opportunity for bonding.
- Religious activities.
- Shopping with the family can make a simple chore an event.
- Attend a concert or show together.
- Go to the theater, watch television, or rent movies. By watching some shows your child enjoys, you will learn more about him/her and can use the topics brought up for more interesting discussions.
- Outdoor activities such as hiking, walks, bicycling, picnics, or camping.
- Attend school events together.
- For younger children, get in the habit of reading to them. For the adolescent, ask what book they are reading and then read it yourself. In both cases, engage the child in a discussion about the book.
If spending time together when children are young is a priority, strong relationships will be formed that will be helpful as they face future tough decisions. Because they trust and feel valued, they can ask for guidance or help as they navigate life at all ages. Don’t forget to take opportunities as they arise, come join us on the 18th of March for memories in the making!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.