Family Strengthening Activity: Family Football Pudding

Shauna Faile is a licensed Marriage and Family Associate who provides individual, couple, marital and family therapy at the Montgomery Counseling Group in Charlotte, NC.

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Family Football Pudding
Sometimes planning family time and activities can be a struggle. Balancing time, various schedules, work load, kid’s activities, and life events can be stressful. The pressures of the expectations we place on ourselves to achieve and succeed is heavy and burdensome at times.
Parenting is about learning to wear many hats, and allowing ourselves to take those hats off and find time for what really matters-our families. We have to be able to give ourselves the freedom to learn, make mistakes, and grow. Too often we criticize ourselves based on the expectations in our minds that we often do not meet. Life should be about allowing ourselves to let go of those scripted expectations and nurturing the moments where self acceptance can grow. In order to do so, we need to embrace the learning curve that is cultivated in our family atmosphere. By doing this, we create an environment full of understanding, empathy, laughter, and love.

Here is a fun activity that allows family members to interact with one another in order to begin to practice this discipline. This strengthens the parental hierarchy and supports healthy  boundaries.  Parents will learn to delegate tasks to their children to increase attunement. This activity will also help to develop skills such as healthy communication, problem solving, boundary setting, and relationship building. Below are the materials you will need, as well as the process that will be played out.

Materials:
Plastic Freezer bags (bigger size such as gallon size), milk, vanilla or chocolate instant pudding mix, and ice cream toppings to jazz it up for eating.

The Process:
Parents will delegate tasks to each child or family member for adding the ingredients into the plastic freezer bags. (The tasks being delegated will be the instructions on the instant pudding mix, however the ingredients will be added into the plastic freezer bag instead of a mixing bowl). Once all ingredients are added, the family members will gather into an environment where possible messes and dirty spills are possible (maybe outside would be the best location).
The family members will pass the freezer bag full of pudding and ingredients around to begin the football pudding match. Every time a family member throws to the other, identify one positive trait you admire about the person. If you want to play a few rounds you can change up the categories to other examples such as what your grateful for, a kind act you will help someone with, etc. Get ready to have fun, to laugh, and enjoy the moment you are creating with one another. Taking time to be present and value the presence of one another is a beautiful thing.

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family”—Virginia Satir