No matter what your child's age, making time each day will improve their feeling of self worth, which most often translates into all-around better behavior. Many families have relayed their successes when they followed a "game plan," with dedicated parent-child interaction time every day. Time is easy enough to give and the return on your investment is limitless.
Cuddle on the couch
Pull out an old family photo album and introduce your child to great-grandparents who first came to our country. Describe life on the farm or work on the railroad. Initiate conversation that ignites interest about those golden days before cellphones and computers.
Look through your child's baby photo album and tell them their life story. Every picture has a story and children love to hear about themselves and their family. Turn your child's life into a storybook.
Build a bond with chapter book stories, and find time each day to read together. Don't wait for bedtime to read together, cuddle up on the couch! Children love to hear about ongoing adventures, and your animated storytelling may ignite a new interest for literature. No need to feel cooped up all winter long; go on adventures with classic characters such as Frog and Toad, "The Borrowers," Tom Sawyer or "The Indian in the Cupboard." Your librarian will help you find the perfect chapter book to capture your child's interest.
Get off the couch
Go for an evening walk with your child. No need to disrupt the evening schedule, as this walk can be in late afternoon hours.
Designate one day each week for crafts. Introduce your child to materials and projects that can be completed simply with a beautiful result. Pre-fab wooden bird feeders can be sanded and painted for the spring. Both boys and girls can complete simple sewing projects, and the rhythm of each stitch reinforces patterning skills. Cards and decorations can be made each month for upcoming holidays, so plan ahead with projects that connect to the season.
Bake some cookies during the week, just because. Bring on the giggles with some icing and sprinkles.
A weekly game night helps to build bonds and sibling relations. Pull out the board games, card games and building blocks for younger children. Losing at a board game in a protected, loving environment is an excellent way to teach your child about good sportsmanship, the value of working as a team and the strength of a partner.
A little play, every day, makes all the difference. Turn off the television, resist texting while you are with your child - and show them they are a most important part of your family.
Diana Boggia, M.Ed., is a parenting coach in Stark County, Ohio, and author of "Parenting with a Purpose." Send questions to Family Matters@cantonrep.com.