We are wrapping up our 4-part series this week with highlighting how to use PLAtime boxes with different family age groups. As an only child, this group is near and dear to my heart and I have lived the role of parenting an “only” child for 22 months prior to the birth of our second son. Something I noticed about myself as well other parents with one child was a perception that we spend extreme amounts of one-on-one time with our child. I would take my son with me everywhere, shopping, running errands, or daily life tasks. When I would ask my patient families to quantify one-on-one time, they often counted these type activities because there were no other people present. However, when they assessed the depth of the interaction during those times, or assessed the answers to questions pertaining to their child’s interests, they would soon realize how being together didn’t capture the full value of being one-on-one.
With PLAtime, we want to equip parents to get the full value of one-on-one time with their children. Our activities are designed to develop stronger cognitive and communication skills, but there is almost always a self-awareness and familiarization aspect between the two players built into the activity.
I cherish the time I got to spend one-on-one with my first child as well as the time I get with my second and third. Below are some of the tools I used when engaging my first “only” child.
Work together with your child and set aside a 30-minute time slot each week; guard against work, friend or chore distractions. These can be the same time each week or can vary. The most efficient plans that I have heard about are when they are set up with the change of the seasons taking into account seasonal activities. Prepare yourself for the balance of vulnerability in your own answers without emotional manipulation. The goal is for you and your child to know one another not to change each other.
Familiarize yourself with the activity beforehand but it is okay if the child knows that it is out of a box so that they understand they are free to honestly evaluate each activity. Only children are notorious for wanting to please parents and struggling with conflict. Not all activities will appeal to all personalities and learning someone’s dislikes is equally valuable information in getting to know them well.
Complete the activity in the box and use the Extended PLA options to lengthen or alternate to appeal more to the interest of child.
Take a moment over a snack immediately following or later in the week to evaluate the activity. This will give you information on which activities were enjoyed enough to repeat to build tradition.
BUILDING ENVIRONMENTS FOR YOUR ONLY CHILD TO PRACTICE CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND LEADERSHIP:
1)Tweens are so great at this but all ages benefit! Brainstorm together if there is a younger cousin or family friend who is the oldest or only child in their family. A great age difference is 2-5 years. Offer for you and your child to babysit them together. Go through PLAtime with your child before the cousin/friend is coming over and then allow them to look at all Extended PLA and choose an activity they will lead with the cousin/friend in mind. If your child can think of any ways to personalize the activity for the person, you can offer to contribute up to $5 to do so. This includes the experience learning the monetary value of things. The parent should supervise only for safety but allow the child to do most of planning and implementation of the activity. Your child gains the relationship with parent and the experience of leading and investing in another, younger person.
2) Go through a PLA activity as above and plan for your child to lead it with a same age friend.
At PLAtime we want you to enjoy the time with your kids. Our Boxes and Activities come ready to use and fully equipped for relational learning and fun. If you haven’t downloaded our free activity, try it from our shop. If you have any questions shoot us an email at the address below on how we can help.
If you missed any of the previous weeks you can check them out below. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of new content.