As a divorced dad, you probably don’t see your children as often as you’d like. While it’s tough being apart from your kids, here are a few ways to take advantage of the time you do have together.
1. Make the most of your time in the car. Ditch the phones, tablets, earphones, and anything else that creates a barrier between you and your children interacting with one another. If your children are young, try playing games such as I Spy or 20 Questions. For tweens and teens, get a conversation going by asking them to rate their days on a scale of 1 to 10 or ask for their opinion on a particular topic.
2. Help coach your child’s sports team. Team sports help kids learn the importance of teamwork and staying healthy, they also offer a great way for parents to get involved with their kids and be a positive influence. Plus, depending on your custody agreement, you may be able to spend extra time with your child due to team practices and regularly scheduled games.
3. Read a book together. Give your child some one-on-one attention while sharing a book. In addition to reinforcing your child’s reading and comprehension skills, reading a book with your child creates a special bond. It also opens an opportunity for conversation—try asking your child about his or her favorite part or character, or how he or she thinks the story is going to end.
4. Roll the dice. Challenge your kids to a game night, which is a fun and affordable way to spend time with them.
5. Cook something. Even if it’s as simple as making mac and cheese from a box, cooking can be a great creative outlet. Plus, it’s an opportunity to help your kids brush up on their reading and math skills. A quick online search will bring up thousands of kid-friendly recipes to help you get started.
6. Grow something. Many kids already love playing in the dirt, so take advantage and build a garden. Let your children pick out one or two plants they’d like to grow, and spend the summer planting, tending to, and watching everything grow. Gardening is also a great way to teach patience, and you might even convince your kids to eat vegetables.
7. Get out of the routine. Shake things up and do something different. Take your kids to a park or local sporting event. Visit a new restaurant or cafe. Check your newspaper’s event calendar for upcoming festivals or “free” days at area museums.
BONUS: Sneak notes into your children’s backpacks or lunch boxes. Tell them you love them and how much fun you had spending time together.