The previous explanations of how trauma impacts your child can sound and feel hopeless. Do not despair. Attachment is a healing balm. It is only through relationships that true healing can take place. Never under-estimate the power of true connection to un-do damage and help the brain learn new healthier pathways. Check out some of these activities to connect with your children.
Claiming is a human behavior that says, “you are part of me: I am part of you and we belong together.” Claiming is crucial to maintain and develop connections within families. When claiming is missed, children can feel that they do not belong and can and often do act out. Parents also feel alienated from their children.
Try these CLAIMING ACTIVITIES to help your family feel more connected to each other; to claim each other.
- Family pictures that include the child.
- Send out announcements to family & friends.
- Include the child’s Lifebook with other family albums.
- Teach the child family traditions, incorporate child’s traditions, develop new traditions.
- Incorporate recipes of dishes from a child’s birth region into home cooking.
- Give family heirlooms/items with sentimental value to a child.
- Socialize with other members of adoptive family support groups.
- Plant a tree or flower bulbs in the yard, with the child, to celebrate the adoption.
- Have the child help plan future vacations, activities, holidays, etc.
THE AFFECTION PRESCRIPTION: This 10-20-10 activity is a great reminder for all parents to really be present with their kids! From Bryan Post’s New Family Revolution System, ©2009 Post Institute & Associates
- 10: Give your child 10 minutes of quality time and attention first thing in the morning.
- 20: Give your child 20 minutes in the afternoon right after school or as soon as you get home from work.
- 10: Give your child 10 minutes in the evening before bed.
FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNT: After all who doesn’t love a Scavenger Hunt?
Family Scavenger Hunts help to develop problem solving and teamwork skills. Gear your clues, locations and prizes to your age group. The idea of a scavenger hunt is to find all the items on the list and return them to the designated place as quickly as possible. There are many different ways to organize a hunt and many choices along the way. You can play as individuals or teams, inside or outside. Here are some entertaining ideas to get you started:
- Backyard Hunt: Use things like different color leaves, feather, sticks, etc.
- Each team or person is given a list of items to find by asking people in your neighborhood.
- Indoor Hunt: Use common items around the house.
- Newspaper Hunt: Each person is given a list of words, sentences, ads and/or photos that need to be located in a newspaper or magazine.
- Art Scavenger Hunt: Each person or team must draw/paint/create the items on the list.
Make sure to give prizes to keep it fun. Draw maps for younger children. Try to keep it from being too competitive: remember the goal is family togetherness and FUN!.