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Five tips for spending more time with loved ones

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Now as much as ever, close family ties can make a significant impact on young lives. While you’re home, during the shelter-in-place order, it’s a great time to strengthen those ties.

Constantly emerging technology sometimes limits personal interaction, while many school-age children experience unprecedented stress levels.

Building strong connections with trusted adults can give children a sense of security and a better foundation for achieving their potential. Make spending time together a priority with these engaging activity ideas that allow the whole family to get in on the fun.


Plan a movie or game night

Children thrive on routines and clear expectations, so a regular special event like a movie or game night can give them something to anticipate each week. Watching TV at home may not be a novelty, but you can make it an occasion to celebrate by adding special touches like dimming the lights to mimic a theater, pulling out cozy blankets and preparing popcorn or other treats. If you opt for game night instead, keep the enthusiasm strong week after week by creating long-range tournaments or allowing children to rotate game selection privileges.


Read together

Sharing books together not only creates an opportunity for bonding, it’s a way to give your child an academic boost outside the classroom. Studies show that daily reading promotes literacy, helps children build their vocabulary and improves overall academic achievement. Also, the benefits don’t end with elementary-age children.

Parents can connect with older children through books that carry important lessons about life and relationships. Reading books individually then coming together to discuss them, similar to a book club, can provide the chance for thoughtful talks about difficult topics. For example, Regretting You, from bestselling author Colleen Hoover, explores a tumultuous relationship between a mother and her daughter who must turn to one another when a tragedy shatters their lives. Find more information on the novel at


Cook meals together

Eating together is a goal for many families, but preparing meals together takes those benefits even further. Engaging children in meal preparation creates a sense of cooperation and instills pride for a successful project. It’s also a chance to share family traditions and pass on recipes that have traveled through generations.


Enjoy a craft day

Children need the chance to let their imaginations soar, and arts and crafts projects can provide the perfect outlet for creative expression. An art session may be as simple as enlisting everyone’s help to make decorations for an upcoming event. Another thoughtful way to channel all that creative energy: have little artists make cards to deliver to a local senior or retirement community.


Take a trip

Discovering new places is an exciting way to create shared memories. A trip need not be costly or even far from home. Even a day trip to explore a new community nearby can provide a natural setting for the whole family to connect and form lifelong memories.

Dallas has many African American historical sites. And, in accordance with the order, you can go on a driving tour in your car or walk through public outdoor areas. To make it fun, do a research project on sites that interest you, then discuss which outdoor locations you plan to visit or historical buildings an landmarks you can tour in your car.

No matter what activity you choose, investing in time together strengthens relationships so children can flourish with the confidence of a support system behind them.

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