Nephews and nieces are undoubtedly precious, but as a first-time uncle/aunt, it can be difficult to find activities that will help you form close bonds with them. Even seasoned uncles and aunts can find it hard to maintain these bonds, especially if they don’t spend enough time with their nieces and nephews.
This article has several awesome suggestions for some of the things you can do for your nieces and nephews to strengthen your relationship. Here are 7 things you can do for your nieces and nephews:
1. Buy them gifts
If you want to dote on your niece/nephew, then buying them gifts is a great gesture. Some gift ideas for little nieces and nephews include:
You can never go wrong with gifting clothes. Buy your niece/nephew unique items that are of good quality – not only will they be thrilled, but their parents will also appreciate the gesture. Whether it is simple comfortable onesies for your nephew or cute stylish dresses for your niece, giving clothes as gifts will go a long way in strengthening your bond.
- Toys and games
Toys and games are always huge hits with kids. Plus, they'll keep them entertained for a while, getting them out of their parents' hair, so it's a win-win for everyone. To find the most suitable toys and games for your niece/nephew, check with their parents to see if there is something in particular that they are fond of.
Books are great gifts because they can significantly boost the creativity of the little ones. Buy our nephew/niece books that you or their parents can read to them.
2. Offer to babysit whenever you are nearby
Another thing you can do for your nieces or nephews is to spend time with them by offering to care for them when their parents have an event to attend, urgent work they need to get done, or just need some space.
Not only will your siblings and siblings-in-law highly appreciate the gesture, but babysitting will also give you a chance to bond with the little ones. Babysitting can also serve as practice if you intend to have children of your own in the future.
3. Make an effort to interact with them
At family gatherings, you may be tempted to mostly interact with the adults and allow kids to be on their own. However, it is worth taking the time to hang out with your nephews and nieces.
Ask what they plan to be for Halloween, what their favorite teacher or subject in school is, what gift they are hoping to receive on Christmas, and so on. It doesn’t have to be a deep soul-searching conversation, but simply making an effort to ask about what is going on in your niece/nephew’s life will make them feel important.
If your nephew/niece is not a big talker, opt to play with them and wholeheartedly get involved in their games. Kids like games, but they often don’t have anyone to play with, so they will appreciate you jumping in and being their playmate. Bring a board game with you next time you visit, or if the weather is nice, switch things up by playing outside with them.
4. Remember important events
Show that you remember your nephew/niece’s birthday by sending them a gift on their special day. If you are not sure about what they might like, simply send a birthday card stuffed with a bit of cash to make them feel special.
Besides birthdays, try to spend time with nephew/niece on other important days such as graduations, sports days, school recitals, etc. Take in his/her planning for the event, the performance, and general joy. Make sure to congratulate your niece/nephew for any achievements, whether big or small.
If you can’t be present physically for such events, opt to Facetime or Skype – the little ones and their parents will highly appreciate this as it shows that you are willing to take time out of your day to be there for your niece/nephew.
5. Set aside a special treasure box for them
Another thing you can do for your niece/nephew is to set up a special treasure box in your home and let them go through it to choose something whenever they come over.
The treasure box can contain anything from trinkets you have collected from your travels to games you played with as a child. Just check in with their parents to ensure that they are allowed to keep whatever they choose from your box.
If you don’t have a treasure box, you can begin creating one by filling a box with stuff such as baseball cards, bullet pencils, and cool-looking old coins.
6. Be emotionally supportive
When you’re not showing them how to complete a puzzle, don’t shy away from offering advice to your nephews and nieces. Children need someone that they can share their problems with and in some cases, they may prefer to confide in you rather than their parents.
Your nephews and nieces will likely come to you for advice on things such as how to deal with a crush. However, if the problem they share with you is serious, hear them out and help them out where you can, then make sure to alert their parents as well.
7. Shape your niece/nephew’s interests
As an uncle/aunt, you play a great role when it comes to molding the personality and interests of your niece/nephew. Some ideas on interests you can build include:
Allow your niece/nephew to express themselves artistically by engaging them in your art. Depending on their interests and ages, there are a variety of paints to choose from, including finger paint, oils, watercolors, acrylics, tempera, and so on.
- Backyard gardening
Another interest you can develop is backyard gardening. Encourage them to plant vegetable, flower, or fruit seeds in the backyard. This will give them something to watch grow and look after.
For crafting activities with your nephew/niece, you will need supplies such as crayons, varying types of paper, markers, glue, recyclables, tape, and glue. With the markers, they can make sock puppets with socks; with the paper, they can make paper airplanes; and with the crayons, they can color in drawings. The sky is the limit with this activity.
Whether you are dropping by briefly, babysitting for a whole weekend, or simply calling to check-in, there are a variety of things you can do for your niece/nephew to strengthen your bond.
Buying gifts, remembering important dates, being emotionally supportive, and so on may seem like little things to you, but they can have huge impacts in your relationship with your nieces and nephews.