Trust—marriages fail without it. Companies crumble when employees do not see it in their leaders. Parents struggle if they do not provide it. Children cannot thrive without earning it. It’s at the forefront of any dynamic relationship, especially with your kids. But trust is fragile. Your son sees you as his hero until you break off that camping trip you promised. Your daughter is daddy’s little girl until you change your mind about letting her go to the party. Now you are the enemy. Why? You broke their trust.
Trust is not only a parent’s responsibility, but it must also come from children. You may never trust your daughter to go to that party because she lied about the last party she attended. She lost your trust. Luckily, there are some exercises you can use to build or restore confidence in your relationship with your kids. Here are 6 trust activities for kids.
1. Jubilee Days
The Law of Moses says the Hebrews celebrated a Jubilee year every 50 years, which is when prisoners were freed, debts forgiven, and God’s merciful hand extended. Why not have one day each year in your family to celebrate a Jubilee? Let your children come to you with anything they did wrong and receive forgiveness without punishment. This day will build trust and extend compassion as a father as well as give you a chance to fix problems you didn’t know existed.
2. Story SticksWe trust people more when we know they listen to us and respect our ideas.
We trust people more when we know they listen to us and respect our ideas. Create a Story Stick (or ball) you can pass around with your kids. Start to tell a story and have each person who receives the stick add something to the plot. They must respect what each family member adds to the story by not destroying any previous ideas. If your daughter says that Goldilocks “wasn’t hungry,” then your son cannot have her chow down when it’s his turn with the Story Stick. This activity builds trust and respect for others’ ideas and sparks creativity.
3. Embarrassment Coach
Have everyone in the family write down a few scenarios that they would feel embarrassed about enduring. For example, maybe your daughter feels embarrassed when her mom brings up her baby stories in front of her friends. Put them in a hat and have each person pick out a scenario that is not his or her own. Whoever picks a given scenario should read it aloud and coach the family member whose scenario it is on how to persevere through that situation. This game builds trust among the family and helps them become aware of everyone’s different personalities and preferences.
4. Chore Wars
Assign daily chores to your kids, and once a week or month, have a chore wars day to swap tasks with each other and trust that their siblings or parents will complete their work for them. Award prizes to all for finishing each other’s chores.
5. Breathe and Pray
Other trust activities for kids include breathing and praying. Kids need time to assess their emotions. They may not trust that you know how to help them with their problems while they are on an emotional roller coaster. Train them to breathe and pray with you. Take a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold it for 7, and breathe out for 8. This exercise resets the sympathetic nervous system. Then say a quick prayer to calm the brain down and overcome the emotion.
6. Blind Tastings
Hold blind taste tests with the family, having siblings feed each other foods while the blindfolded taster tries to guess what they are. Be sure to have weird foods on the table to make it enjoyable. This game will build familial trust as they have to trust that their siblings will not feed them unpleasant foods.
Sound off: What else could you do to increase trust between you and your kids?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it takes to earn trust?”