On our eighth annual Family Day in BC, we are reminded of the importance of family and celebrate a day dedicated to spending time with our loved ones.
How are you planning to spend Family Day this year? Although social distancing is still in effect, there are still so many creative family activities you can try that open the door for Observation, Reflection, and Connection – the three pillars of calmversation™.
Straight from our Family Care Kit, here are some fun, family activities that can be done both inside and outside of the home this Family Day.
Download our free Family Care Kit for more activities, inspiration, and other SEL-inspired material to build stronger, more meaningful connections with our families.
Observation: Being mindful of and exploring emotions
We’ve gotten so used to our busy lives, but with a bit of down time, now is a great opportunity to remind our children (and ourselves) that sometimes we need to sit back, observe our surroundings, and explore our inner selves.
Children often struggle to communicate their true thoughts and feelings, especially with those closest to them. As a parent, when you are able to recognize and respond to your child’s emotions, you start to develop a deeper, calmer connection that makes them feel heard, validated, and valued.
In all our calmversation™ care kits, we use Social Emotional Learning (SEL) techniques to help both children and adults understand and manage their emotions, and build stronger, more meaningful connections with those around them.
Let’s try an activity! Ask your children to draw what their emotions “look like” to them. They might draw colours, animals, shapes, or patterns. Encourage them to be creative and honest. Afterwards, talk to them about their picture so they can start to express in words how they are feeling.
Look for other activities you can try as a family that can encourage slowing down and observing the world around us. Here are two more great ideas to explore and practice our skills of observation.
Throughout the week, try to notice the world around you and take photos of what catches your eye. At the end of the day on Monday, share your photos with the family, along with your thoughts, inspirations, and ideas while taking them.
Flip open your favourite book and pick five words from any page. Write them down and ask your children to create a story inspired by those five words. Your kids can write the words and create illustrations to go with them. If your kids are extra crafty, encourage them to design a cover for it too, and put it together in a binder or Duo-Tang. When done, everyone can read their story and talk about the illustrations.
Encouraging open communication about our emotions will help bring you and your children closer and allow you to better support them when they need it most.
Reflection: Understanding thoughts and circumstances beyond our control
Change can be difficult for everyone, no matter how old you are, and this past year has seen many, many changes. Giving ourselves the chance to reflect on the concept of change on Family Day can help our children better communicate their thoughts about circumstances beyond their control.
Here are two activities you can add to your Family Day weekend plan that provide opportunities for everyone to explore verbal and non-verbal communication, and understand the meaning conveyed underneath.
Have all family members take a piece of paper and create two columns. In the first column list all the things you can’t control but wish you could. In the second column, list all the things you can control and are within your ability to do. Review your answers as a family. Do you have anything in common? Use them to start a discussion.
Host a Family Meeting
Family Day is a perfect time to kick off weekly family meetings. Choose a time and day that each member of your family can attend regularly and block it off in the calendar. Everyone in the family can bring a discussion topic and have five minutes to voice their thoughts, questions, and concerns, while others listen respectfully and respond with non-verbal communication (i.e. eye contact, nodding, smiling). As a family, you can provide support, explore the idea, or try to resolve the problem. Elect one attendee to be the note-taker at each meeting.
Giving our children, as well as ourselves, time and space to process and engage our thoughts and ideas helps us to better reflect on external events. It also gives us a chance to boost our confidence and feel better about what we can control in any given situation.
Connection: Problem-solving together
Children are naturally creative problem-solvers – especially at bedtime when they’re trying to stay up late! Problem-solving as a family offers a unique opportunity to connect, cultivate both our creative and critical thinking skills, and discover the wonderful qualities you and your family possess.
If you have older kids, they might enjoy riddles! Here are some of our favourites:
- The more you take, the more I leave behind. What am I?
- What has a head, a tail, is brown, and has no legs?
- What runs around your whole yard without moving?
For kids of all ages, here are some of our inspired problem-solving activities for the family.
Plan a Virtual Holiday
Have each family member think of an idea for a family holiday. Choose a destination, select a hotel, plan meals, and create activities. Use Google or your imagination to create a travel itinerary where money is no object. Maybe one day you can actually take one of these trips in real life!
If there is a family conflict, find time to calmly sit down as a family and discuss it. Brainstorm ways to resolve the conflict together and reach a mutual agreement on the best solution. List out the steps required and make a pact to follow the steps when a conflict arises.
Problem-solving as a family is a great way to connect and strengthen meaningful connections, while engaging in respectful conversation and thinking outside of the box!
Other fun ideas for Family Day
Some kids may feel overwhelmed doing too many of these calmversation™ activities in a day. This Family Day weekend, try blocking off chunks of time for different types of activities.
Find activities that get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Ideally, it’s something that all members of your family enjoy. This may include biking, hiking, playing a sport, or dancing.
Even though Family Day is about family spending time together, getting some quiet downtime for each person to explore their own interests is important too. Encourage each person to pick a non-screen activity if possible, such as crafting, reading, meditation, or playing in the yard.
calmversation™ Family Time
Schedule designated family time, and take each of the activities we talked about in this post (and find additional ones in the Family Care Kit) and write each on a separate piece of paper. Put all the pieces in a jar and pull out one when you get to Family Time in your day. Then, do the activity or exercise on the paper as a family.
For more activities, games, and inspiration on how to celebrate this Family Day with your children, download your free copy of our Family Care Kit. The Family Care Kit contains pages upon pages of ideas and resources to help you and your family observe, reflect and connect with each other and the world around you.
In addition to the Family Care Kit, calmversation™ founder Missy Jena also hosts workshops for parents to further build on those meaningful connections. Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram for more resources on how to bring calmversation home.
The Family Care Kit has been generously funded by the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada.