Good-Life Activities for Your Family
Make time for the good life together.
Family Exercise and Outdoor Play
Introduce your child to a sport you love. Whether it’s yoga or ice
skating, fishing or biking, almost no child is too young to be at least a small
part of your favorite activity. “If it’s something the parent loves, the
parent’s enthusiasm will make it fun,” says Cohen.
Go for family walks together. If you think your child will be bored
with a simple walk, try Cox’s trick: storytelling walks. “We’d make up stories
together -- for example, after the movie ‘Toy Story,’ we’d imagine what our
sons’ toys would do while we were gone,” she says. “We’d make up elaborate
scenarios about which one would get lost, which ones would help find him, and
Make up indoor versions of outdoor games. “Thank goodness we never
destroyed anything, but we did do indoor soccer in the front hall,” Cox
Family Music, Games, and Comfort
Have regular jam sessions. One family periodically Evites their
daughters’ friends for a Sunday-morning music fest. The parents come too, but
they are under strict instructions that they must dance, sing, and act silly --
no audience members allowed. These parents are musicians, but you don’t have to
be. Just cue up some reggae, zydeco or disco, hand out tambourines and maracas,
and go to it!
Freeze dance. Just turn on your favorite music -- whether it’s the
Grateful Dead, Beyonce, or some one-hit wonder, -- and dance. Then when you
stop the music, everyone has to freeze. “It’s not a competition, nobody’s
‘out,’” says Cohen. “It’s just really fun to do together. It’s kind of a
Make up your own TV endings. Watch five minutes of your favorite TV
show, then turn off the TV and make up the ending. Act it out as a play with
your kids’ dolls and stuffed animals.
Love your library. Regular trips to the library as a family, for
story hour or just to pick out an exciting new story, can build great bonds
over books. Ask your child to pick out a book he thinks you should
Create a comfort ritual for tough days. Cox knew a family who had
what they called the “poor sweet baby” blanket. “It was this worn old blanket
that they kept in a closet. When Dad didn’t get a promotion or a child got
picked on at school, everyone in the family would wrap him in the blanket and
stand together around him, saying things like ‘Oh, you poor sweet baby, we love
Time spent together can remedy a lot of problems, says Cohen. He recalls one
family who was about to send their troubled daughter to him for counseling.
She’d caused trouble at home and in school.
“Then… the father started walking the girl to school twice a week instead of
putting her on the bus. A couple of weeks later they called and cancelled their
appointment with me, because things were going great,” he says. “The dad was
getting to spend time with the daughter and talk to her when they were both
fresh and full of energy. It filled her up, made her school day different, and
made coming home different. These little changes really do make a big