Adoptive Families: Bonding Activities

Heart to Heart is a private adoption agency that focuses on both private adoption and open adoption. Helping provide parenting advice for adoptive parents, they provide information, articles and helpful tips to help families bond.

While not every family adopts an infant, it is important for adoptive families to take the age level of their adoptive child into consideration. Additionally, older children may have suffered from neglect or abuse. Knowing a child’s background and history – even if a birth mother was a drug user – is important information.

Some bonding tips for adoptive families include:

  • Reading Stories – Spending time together, especially reading stories, promotes a parent and child bond while also allowing parents to help increase their child’s literary and vocabulary skills.
  • Brushing Hair – While this may seem like a remedial task, this is a “safe touch” exercise. Physical contact is extremely important to creating a loving bond between parent and child.
  • Sing a Song – You likely remember your parents singing nursery rhymes and other child folklore songs to you, so why not pass along that tradition? Whether it is London Bridge, Old Macdonald or a popular Sunday school song, some songs involve tickling and safe touching, helping children feel more comfortable with their blossoming child-parent relationship.
  • Games and Rhymes – Most children fondly remember their preschool days, so often parents can teach their children different clapping games, rhymes or jump rope games. This helps parents and children spend valuable time together. Hint, in the car consider teaching children the “I Spy” game to help increase close contact and make the most of family road trips.
  • Staring Contests – Maintaining eye contact helps built attachment, so older children may enjoy having staring contests with parents. The game should only ever be considered playful and never feel intimidating or threatening.
  • Hand Games – Whether it is Patty Cake, Rock Paper Scissors or Thumb Wresting, these games provide safe-touching activities that help comfort children.
  • Rocking – Young children and even slightly older children in their single-digit-years may enjoy being rocked, especially when they have a history of emotional abuse or neglect.
  • Painting Nails – A perfect activity for mothers and daughters, painting fingernails and toenails takes no more than five minutes and makes every little girl feel extra special.
  • Lotion – This may be discussed with a therapist, if a parent would feel more comfortable doing so. As many people establish their own bedtime routines, that often includes putting lotion on their hands and feet. Establishing this relaxing routine with a child may be beneficial, especially if the child has a hard time falling or staying asleep.



Leave a Comment