Numerous studies show that children who spend time with caring adults are more likely to become productive, well-adjusted members of society. You already have what it takes to be a caring adult. You don't need special skills or talents, years of education or a degree in child psychology. All you need is the commitment to spend quality time with a child.
Think about your childhood. What did you like to do best? Use those ideas or some of the following suggestions to make a world of difference in the life of a child.
- Make a weekly lunch or library date
- Coach a team
- Plant and tend a garden
- Go to the gym and take a martial arts class
- Paint pictures
- Tour museums
- Bird watch
- Read together
- Write a song
Remember also that children of different age groups will likely be interested in different activities.
Ages 4 and 5
- Take a field trip to the petting zoo
- Expand creative thinking with cutting, pasting, or coloring
- Increase muscle development with running, jumping and climbing
Ages 6 and 7
- Develop problem-solving skills with cards, board games or arts and crafts
- Visit the library or start a book club
- Jump rope, sculpt a statue, or go hiking
Ages 8 to 10
- Engage in reading and writing activities-write songs, read together or help children write letters to long-distance relatives
- Help children make their own decisions by letting them choose where to eat lunch or what activity to do
Ages 11 to 14
Build self-confidence through volunteerism- participate in a neighborhood clean-up or grafitti paint-out.
Ages 15 and 16
- Consider involving older teens in activities with you and your friends
- Ask them to teach you a special skill they may have
Most importantly, remember that when youre spending time with a child, its not so much what you do as long as youre doing it together.