Bonding Through The Ages
Babies may seem to only go through the endless cycles of sleeping, eating and getting their diaper changed; but the truth is that even in the first three months of life, a baby is able to interact and communicate. Multiple studies have proven that early parental bonding results in emotional and behavioural benefits for a child who will be less troubled, more stable and happier as they grow up.
The Sporting Life
Living in a country that enjoys good weather most of the year offers many opportunities to indulge in a variety of sports. And don’t let that pesky monsoon season put you off, because there is still plenty of energy-releasing (and calorie-burning for you) sporting activities to pursue. Try not to get too competitive and take up a sport that both you and your kids can enjoy and have a laugh over. Courses and lessons abound with everything on offer from the usual tennis and golf, to the more adventurous like surfing or mountain biking. The old adage of ‘the family who plays together, stays together’ certainly does ring true, and even tossing a ball around for a few minutes every evening is good enough.
The Great Outdoors
Between the traffic, heat, pollution and general fear of unsavoury lurking characters, city living does make parents quite paranoid about letting their children run free. As many of us do live in condos, there are not many chances for kicking off your shoes and running through the proverbial meadow. This is where one of the easiest bonding experiences can be easily done – pack a picnic, grab a ball, bicycle, scooter or Frisbee, and head to a park. Having the space to whizz around and throw things with your child is not only fun but also so much healthier than doing victory laps in a mall. Your child will love it when you get down and dirty while kicking that football or collecting tadpoles in that muddy stream.
There is nothing wrong with having a day in, although many parents I know cringe when the holidays or weekends come round and the common lament is “What am I going to do with them?” Take a deep breath and tell yourself that this is the ideal time to chill out and enjoy the fact that there is no homework, activities and waking up at the crack of dawn.
One of my favourite activities to do with my children (boy and girl – four years apart) is going to the cinema. We all love movies and caramel popcorn, and this is a great outing for parents and siblings with otherwise completely different interests. Finding the right movie can be tricky as proved when I once took them to a disaster movie that managed to combine an earthquake, tsunami, destruction and mayhem with an inhumanly talented and brave protagonist. Daughter spent the entire time cowering while son watched open-mouthed. Perfect bonding experience… they’re still talking about it and I’m wondering how I survived such inanity.
The Joy of Travel
Parents always say they need a holiday to recover from the holiday with the kids. In retrospect, holiday memories become so much rosier as the children get older. Remember the time they projectile vomited on that road trip or when they had a massive tantrum in that famous museum? How is this bonding, you ask? As a very hands-on parent, I think that even at the worst of times holidays are the ultimate bonding experience not only with the children, but also between the parents. You have to be a team to manage the unruly masses and what better way to get closer as a family?
Charity and Volunteering
Instilling a sense of compassion should begin as early as possible, particularly in this age of social media and throw-away culture. Exposure to the less fortunate realities of life can be a heart-wrenching experience, so begin your child’s education sensitively by volunteering together at an animal shelter, collecting necessities for the refugees, or even reading at a children’s home. These significant experiences not only teach them to give back to the community, but also remind them to be grateful for what they have.