Connection Activities for Parents and Kids

Connection Activities for Parents and Kids

Connection is the foundation for human relationships. For some kids, particularly those with attachment issues, anxiety or sensory issues, connection is challenging and may even feel threatening to them. These connection activities can bridge the gap and help foster the parent-child bond.

Connection with their primary caregiver comes so naturally for most children, but for others, it can actually feel threatening or uncomfortable. Children who have experienced early childhood trauma (including prenatal trauma or stress), who have had multiple caregivers and homes (foster care, adoption, kinship care), who have sensory issues, or who suffer from anxiety can struggle with connection. The fix is not as simple as incorporating intentional connection activities in your home, but these activities can be a piece of the puzzle and are a step towards better attachment.

While some of these connection activities are straightforward, others require a bit of explanation. I have provided a video below where I explain some of them in more detail as well as explain ways that you can adapt the ideas on this list for kids who are resistant to connecting. Below the video, I share a list of ideas for choosing a special song for your child because that is a question I have been getting often from parents after they watch the video.

Ideas for Connection Activities:

  • Read together
  • Wear matching clothing
  • Hang family pictures in child’s room
  • Make child a small photo album to carry
  • Give hand massage with lotion
  • Trace shapes or letters on child’s back with your finger
  • Let your child choose your outfit for the day
  • Point out things you have in common
  • Trade Hershey’s Kisses for eye contact and a kiss on the cheek
  • Play a board game or card game
  • Wear matching temporary tattoos
  • Do your child’s hair
  • Give or receive back scratches
  • Have a special one-on-one time after other kids are in bed
  • Give each other pedicures
  • Bake or cook together
  • Snuggle on the couch under a blanket with popcorn to watch a movie
  • Give Smurf and butterfly kisses
  • Hug (but ask permission first)
  • Play clapping games
  • Tuck-ins
  • Choose a special song for each child (see song suggestions below the video)
  • Create art together and hang it prominently
  • Pick your child up to play hooky from school
  • Rock your child
  • Make appointment days special
  • Make up a secret handshake
  • Choreograph a dance together
  • Play “Mother, May I?” or “Simon Says” (Mommy Says)
  • Use the You Are Special plate to mark and celebrate milestones*
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As an added bonus, when you have a special song for your child, you can also use it to make a memorable video montage using photos of your child growing up as a gift for their graduation, wedding day or milestone birthday.

Special Songs for Your Child Ideas:

  • A New Day has Come by Celine Dion
  • Amazing by Janelle
  • Anyway by Martina McBride
  • Baby Mine by Alison Krauss
  • Beautiful Boy by John Lennon (there is also a Celine Dion version)
  • The Best Part of Me by Lee Price
  • Blessed by Elton John
  • Blue by Beyonce
  • Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
  • Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman
  • The Climb by Miley Cyrus
  • Dance with my Daughter by Jason Blaine
  • Find Your Wings by Brent Miller
  • Gracie by Ben Folds
  • How You Live (Turn Up the Music) by Point of Grace
  • Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw
  • I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
  • I See the Light by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi
  • I Will Love You by Fisher
  • I Won’t Let Go by Rascal Flatts
  • In My Daughter’s Eyes by Martina McBride
  • Lullaby by The Dixie Chicks
  • Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel) by Billy Joel
  • A Mother’s Prayer (Hannah’s Song) by Rachel Aldous
  • Mother to Child by Rosita Stone
  • My Little Girl by Tim McGraw
  • My Wish by Rascal Flatts
  • Naleigh Moon by Josh Kelley (international adoption)
  • The One Thing by Shakira
  • The One Who Knows by Dar Williams
  • Priceless by King & Country
  • Red Robin by Clark Richard
  • Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman
  • So Far to Find You by Casting Crowns (international adoption)
  • Speechless by Alicia Keys
  • Stand by Rascal Flatts
  • This Angel by Jennifer Nettles
  • Try Everything (from Zootopia) by Shakira
  • What I Never Knew I Always Wanted by Carrie Underwood
  • When I Pray for You by Dan + Shay
  • When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman (older child adoption specific)
  • Who I Am by Jessica Andrews
  • You Are My Baby by Kimya Dawson
  • You’re Gonna Be by Reba McEntire
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