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Spend Time with Each Child

Spending personal time with each child communicates that you value them and consider them to be an important part of the family. Using this principle is one of the best ways to help each child meet their need to feel a sense of belonging. It gives them what they most desperately want from you: your complete attention. If they can get that, their negative attention-getting behaviors disappear.

Spending personal time with each child also helps them satisfy their need to feel a sense of personal power. Personal power is the freedom to choose, and because you allow the child to choose the activity, you reduce the child’s desire to meet that need in negative ways. Following are some activities you can do with your child to get you started.

  1. Lay next to your child in their bed at night and just talk
  2. Lay on a blanket outside at night and look at the stars
  3. Play catch
  4. Play a game: backgammon, Old Maid, any game your child likes
  5. Throw the Frisbee
  6. Shoot some hoops
  7. Read together
  8. Take a trip to the library. Check out a book on "activities for children" and read it together. Choose an activity and do it. Find some good story books to check out as well.
  9. Bake something together
  10. Build something with blocks or Lego’s
  11. Draw or color something
  12. Go to a golf course. Practice putting on the putting green, hit a bucket of balls, or play a round.
  13. Build a snowman
  14. Make snow angels
  15. Have a picnic – outdoors or indoors
  16. Visit a museum
  17. Take the dog to a dog training class together
  18. Walk the dog together or just take a walk together
  19. Write a letter together to someone you both know – like grandma, or a friend
  20. Look at family photos together
  21. Sing songs
  22. Tell stories about when your child was a toddler or a baby
  23. Simply hold your child
  24. Build a blanket fort
  25. Plant flower or vegetable seeds. Tend it together – or plant a garden.
  26. Go to a movie
  27. Finger Paint
  28. Take pictures or video – make a movie
  29. Visit an aquarium
  30. Put together a puzzle
  31. Build a fire together – then make s'mores
  32. Build something with wood – maybe a bird house
  33. Make homemade pizza
  34. Rake leaves and jump in the pile
  35. Make water balloons. Play catch with one as you slowly back further away from each other.
  36. Go on a bike ride
  37. Find a fruit tree and pick fruit together – apples, apricots, pears, etc.
  38. Play hide and seek
  39. Paint fingernails and toenails together
  40. Go on a hike
  41. Attend a baseball, basketball, soccer, or football game
  42. Go fishing
  43. Go out for sundaes or ice cream cones
  44. Go out for pie, bagels, donuts, pizza or burgers
  45. Go for a ride on a train, bus, or subway
  46. Go horseback riding
  47. Go outside when it's raining (and warm) and get totally soaked together
  48. Paint a picture by numbers together
  49. Go to a theater or dance performance
  50. Wash the car
  51. Do dishes together
  52. Clean out a closet together
  53. Fly a kite
  54. Jump rope
  55. Exercise together
  56. Write a story. Take turns writing only 3 or 4 words per turn.
  57. Go bowling – or set up a bowling alley in your hall with empty 2-liter plastic bottles and a softball.
  58. Play Simon Says
  59. Play “I Spy”
  60. Listen to music and play homemade instruments together
  61. Start a journal with each child
  62. Prepare a family meal together
  63. Start a collection
  64. Play with sidewalk chalk
  65. Play tetherball
  66. Play ping pong
  67. Indoor golf (putters only)
  68. Tell jokes
  69. Play hillbilly golf (Google it)
  70. Go jogging together – enter a 1 mile or 5K race
  71. Attend an auction together
  72. Visit a play ground



If you don’t spend personal time with each child, you will end up spending more time dealing with their negative behaviors.