For families with Elementary-Aged Children(K-5th)
As a parent, this stage of life often begins to hone our executive management skills! It is exciting to watch our kid’s natural progression as they develop friendships, but we feel the tension between spending our time with friends versus family. This is often the point that we begin to see our kids schedule fill up with activities that make it difficult to find intentional time to be together to develop our family relationships. I have learned that intentional effort is necessary for maintaining strong connections to each one of my children as they grow. Friend time and activities are fantastic, but they can swallow up all of life including parent/child time and sibling time if they are not guarded.
Using the activities created for the PLAtime box most efficiently with my elementary siblings, I found it useful to follow the plan below.
Planning: Have a plan that you stick to most of the time. This will be messy and imperfect but set aside one hour each week; it can be back-to-back all in one afternoon or 30 minutes one afternoon and 30 minutes another (i.e. Tuesday, Thursday) Guard this hour from homework, friends, and extracurricular activities. During the summer, it can be one morning each week. Plan a time that you know you can be consistent.
Read over the PLA Activity card you have selected for this week and have your needed item(s) out and ready. Choose at least one Extended PLA option from the back of the Activity Card for a 30 minutes target.
Structure: Get all but one child settled into Alone Time activities (See Alone Time blog post for more details.)
Advance: During the first 30 minute section of the hour, engage one child with one Activity. In second 30 minute time slot, have “Sibling Time” where that child leads the other(s) in the activity they already did with you.
The next week rotate children with a new activity from the box. Doing this will build planning as well as following/leading experience into each of the children. Personalization of activities builds both consideration and budgeting experience into the Leader. Be sure to bestow authority to whoever is leading at the beginning of your “Sibling Time” so all the children know who the leader will be and it will empower you child to lead.
If you plan to do this on separate days it allows for the option to ask that week’s Lead Child if there is a way they would like to personalize the activity for their sibling and you can offer to buy extra supplies up to $3-5 for their ideas. Go over the cost of any items they recommend beginning to give them an idea of how things are priced.
Return When you have completed all the activities in a box over a six or seven week timeframe, use the final week to play a favorite activity from each person all together with parents and children.
***Note: There is only one Ninja Drop item in each box. You will need to be careful to rotate children in a way that someone different is a Ninja each month. Alternatively, that becomes a family activity where everyone participates in the drop.
Since time is often limited PLAtime boxes are always geared at capturing a small amount of time for consistent impact. The planning and the purchasing are already done so you can invest the time with your kids. If you haven’t already, try the steps above with our Try it Free activity.