Connection Time Activities

Cooking, Games, Reading & Exercise to Fit Busy Schedules

Author Pam Leo recommends a minimum of ten minutes of one-on-one connection time each day for parents and children. The plan that time each day with a simple activity.

Ten minutes of connection time with each child every day doesn’t seem like a lot. But, when life gets busy, a parent can find herself scrambling to find the time. Here are some connecting activities that will easily fit into busy schedules.

Cooking with Children

If the family’s schedule is full, spend time with your child while cooking dinner. Most children like to help with dinner preparation. Toddlers and preschoolers can pour and stir ingredients and help set the table. Older children can chop vegetables and cook on the stovetop.

After-school snack time can also be a connection time when children and parents take ten minutes to prepare a special snack. Have the ingredients out before the school bus arrives for a quick batch of brownies or have some simple muffin or cookie mixes available. Talk about the school day as you are working together to prepare the snack. Continue the conversation over a glass of milk and your homemade treats.

Board and Card Games

Games are great ways to get in connection time with your child. There are many games that take no more than ten minutes. Most people can play a few hands of Rummy or Gin Rummy in ten minutes. Younger children may enjoy a game of Go Fish.

Speed Stacks is a newer game that is a fun challenge for both children and adults. Take turns stacking and unstacking the plastic cups. Work to beat your own time or compete against each other.

Classic board games, like Scrabble and Yahtzee, generally take longer than ten minutes, but they can be played on those nights when you have more time. Or, you can set a timer for ten minutes and play until the timer goes off.

Cooperative games are also fun and, very often, will result in lots of laughter as you and your child work together to reach the goal.


Walking and bike riding with your child is quality connection time. Take an after-dinner stroll around the neighborhood. Play basketball. A quick game of one-on-one or horse is a great way to bond with your child.

Games of catch, either with a baseball, Frisbee, or other ball seem to be soothing to children and relaxing activity for adults. Likewise, passing a soccer ball back and forth is a fun activity for parents and children.


Don’t underestimate the power of a bedtime story for connection time. If the day is extremely busy and connection time cannot be squeezed in anywhere else, save the last few minutes in the evening for a story. Children will find this special time relaxing and will sleep soundly knowing that they had your undivided attention at the end of the day.

Making it a priority to have ten minutes of connection time each day with each child to help the children in your family behave better and feel better about themselves. Find the time to cook, play a game, exercise or read with your child each day and discover how easy squeezing in connection time can be.


Leo, Pam. Connection Parenting: Parenting through Connection instead of Coercion, Through Love instead of Fear. Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc.: Deadwood, Oregon. 2005.