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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.