Joint Projects to Help You Bond With Your Child
It’s not easy when you are separated from your child – for you or for them. When you are used to seeing each other every day, living apart can take a lot of getting used to.
As well as your regular contact, it can be a good idea to start some projects that allow you both to bond while you are apart and focus on something together. These will keep you involved in their everyday life and help them to understand that you are always part of it, even when you are not there.
Video DiaryWith video recorders available so cheaply and easily now, this is a fun way to share your everyday lives. Whether it is recorded on a camera, mobile phone, or webcam, you can send it over the Internet or make a special DVD. Use it to record everyday feelings or thoughts or set each other tasks or activities to film.
Memory BoxSometimes the simple, old school projects are the best. Create boxes together, decorate them and spend time personalising them. Then, use them to collect memories of the time you spend together. Whether it is photos, ticket stubs or a shell from the beach that you visited, it will be something that you can both look back on when you are missing each other.
Photo StoryThis can be done the old-fashioned way on paper or there are a lot of programmes you can use to make a slide show or storybook online. Whether it is a document of a day or holiday you spent together, something you couldn't share, or photos over the years, it is a great visual way to reminisce and it can be fun thinking up captions!
Watch a Film TogetherNo, you won’t be technically watching it together, but decide on a film that you are both going to watch. Then, either watch it at the same time or separately but make a time to talk about what you thought of it. This will build up common cultural references and give you shared experiences.
Write a StoryThis is a fun idea that is often done in the playground. One of you starts off writing a story, it only needs to be a paragraph or two. Then you send it to the other person who fills in what happens next and so on. It gives you both something to look forward to and is a fun and amusing project.
Plan an AdventureHaving something to look forward to always raises your spirits. Start to plan an adventure with your child, whether it is a day out, special event or a holiday. Work together to choose the location, what you are going to do and where you will stay. Discussing all the options helps build up the anticipation and make it an adventure to remember.
There are all sorts of projects that you can do to keep up the shared experiences and bond that you can miss when you are apart. Talk to your child about what they might like to do and pick things that are fun and interactive. They will probably be full of ideas but it is good to think up some of your own. Don’t put any pressure on them as you want it to be an enjoyable project and give you both something to look forward to or back on.Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.