In order to create a great family unit, step parents need to bond with their step children early. The more time that lags in the relationship, the harder it will be to develop that connection because new opinions are being formed every minute. Start the relationship letting the step child know you are on their side. How can we do that? One answer is bonding. Create a save and fun environment for the child and you will connect. Are you at a loss for ideas on what to do to bond? Keep in mind any activity or program you participate in will be a judgment of you and your being. If you choose a negative activity, something specifically against the child, something that is not quite up to standard (example: specifically against a natural parent or an ethically questionable activity), YOU will be judged even if you think it is what they child wants. Even if the child asks for such an activity, you are the one in the end that the child will determine made the decision. You are the parent and have the final say in a child’s mind. Here is a list of 10 great ideas programs/activities that can connect the step parent and step child(ren) on a deep positive level.
- Try a program such as Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. This is a program that provides a world of options and opportunities. You will do anything from travel, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM areas) to fun outings amusement and educational. The benefits are endless and the experience is a lifetime of reward. Join with the child, become a member. Show your support by putting yourself in a position to participate in all activities.
- Look in your community for organizations with programs available. If you are in the Carmel, IN area, check out the Carmel Parks and Recreation Center for some great programs for all ages.
- What have you done for your community lately? Nothing brings people together like volunteer work. This takes the focus off of the step parent or step child and puts it back in the community. Go in for some good old fashioned manual labor. Look up your local Parks and Recreation for local young options. If the kids are 16 or older, take it a bit deeper and try Habitats for Humanity. Participating in something that can feel so rewarding, and then sharing that same ‘good’ feeling with someone else, will bring you that much closer.
- Set up a game night, family night, players choice (kid chooses), etc. Have one night a week where the kids choose. This will make them have to work together and bond in team work. You are a hit for setting up something cool and you know you have created a good bonding moment instead of everyone hiding in a room. Make the choice a little easier by having a reward system for the person who gets to choose that week. You can also have a few options creatively displayed, play a quick challenge, and winner chooses. You get the idea. Don’t count on 100% agreement of an activity so give a couple and let there be a choice.
- Just because your step child doesn’t live with you, doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer in their extracurricular activities. Are they on a sports team at school, scouting, etc? Take a volunteer role. You will be showing your support for what they do. Giving a visual presence in their lives. And taking an active part in something together in some small way. Be respectful of the natural parents of course. But don’t let anyone discourage you from honest and respectful participation. If you avoid it just because, the child will see you avoiding them.
- Got Game? Go to one. Does your step child have a favorite sports team? Make a special outing to go.
- Look in your local area for contests or something you can do together. A lot of communities are always doing activities for families. Don’t neglect these free ways to have a great time.
- Do you see your step child(ren) on the weekends? Look for a way to intrigue them and make them think of you while they are away. Make them have a nice thought for coming back. Have them choose some random piece of anything before they leave to their other home. BUT, promise when they return you will have turned that simple piece of trash into a treasure. Make a little bet. Make it fun. They can hand you a used toilet paper roll and you have to meet the challenge of turning it into something awesome when they return. They will spend that time away wondering what you will do. Trick! Go to Pintrist.com. Have fun!
- Don’t neglect those birthdays. Make them extra special for every member of the family. Don’t think that only the things you do for the step child count either. They see what you do for everyone, and everyone else sees too. Make birthdays unique. Organize a charity pajama party where they invite guests to wear pajamas and bring a pair to donate instead of a present. Have a neighborhood midnight scavenger hunt for birthday gifts .
- Go to the park at midnight in your pj’s. Do little fun things to throw them off. Go through the drive through and ask for your order to go. They will definitely laugh at you but they will be laughing. If you have teen step children, they are way too serious.
Whatever you do, make it memorable and it will last. Share your ideas with me won’t you?