Family by Family

We want to see all families thrive not just survive

Update on Kids in Link Ups

Friday, November 9, 2012

As you may already know the Family by Family team have been seeing a bit more of the kids from our sharing families lately! We’ve been tagging along to link ups, as well as catching up with kids in their homes to find out more about them and their role in Family by Family. We wanted to explore the following questions:

What do kids do in link ups currently?

  • What are some of the trickier parts for kids in link ups? Eg. When kids don’t get along?
  • What really motivates or excites kids? Does it change for different ages?
  • What individual strengths do kids bring to Family by Family  and how can we use them?
  • What do parents want for their kids to get out of Family by Family?
  • What do kids do with their free time and play?
  • How can we make kids feel like they’re part of a community?
  • Can kids be part of creating change for others? How?

So after a few weeks of hanging out with kids we started noticing a few consistent themes coming up.

Kids thought the best things about Family by Family was meeting kids (often around the same age were the best) and going to new places.

  • Kids often got bored while waiting for their link up family to arrive.
  • Kids spent much of their free time playing around the neighbourhood if they were old enough. They were often on their scooters, bikes or at nearby playgrounds. Some kids spent much of their time of social media like Facebook, but many parents didn’t think their kids were old enough for that yet. Because we hung out with some kids over the school holidays there were lots of whole family activities like going to the pool or movies.
  • We saw that kids had a naturally beautiful ability to include kids in their everyday play. Like the adults in Family by Family, it seems that the kids have some similar strengths that made them great role models for others.
  • The things that motivated and excited kids often involved someone in their family being pleased/proud of them or they were things where they had choice in an experience with their own family (eg. choosing the location of the next family outing).  Material rewards, such as stickers or certificates, along with making their own goals weren’t ranked as highly.
  • Parents wanted their kids to have a chance to develop empathy and compassion for others and to learn not to judge. They wanted their kids to feel like they were part of a community and some parents wanted more opportunities for their kids to be involved in Family by Family.  To many parents it was really important that they could help others with their kids being a part of that.

“It would be cool to make stuff and get all the kids to work together” -Boy aged 6.

“I’d like to help …..(a seeking kid) but I’m not sure how”? – Girl aged 13.

Just some of our ideas!

  • Having a consistent way of explaining what Family by Family is to kids and what their role may be (although this will be different depending on the age of the kids). We already have the Huffs and Budges for the smaller kids but what could we have for the older kids? A comic book or similar?
  • Create some Kids Strengths, similar to the Family Strengths. The strengths could be used as a foundation for all work we do with kids.
  • A big brother/big sister type role for older kids. Older kids often miss out on connecting with kids their own age on link ups. Could there be an option for older sharing kids to be linked to other older seeking kids even if they aren’t linked up with that family?
  • More help for families in planning link ups that kids would be attending (ie. going to a place where kids will be entertained if one family is late). We also found that link ups sometimes featured serious adult chats that could leave kids at a loose end if they weren’t in a kid friendly space.
  • Giving kids different ways to help kids work out their individual strengths and helping them to build on them (ie quizzes, activities at team coaching).
  • Bring back whole family activities to team coaching in school holidays.
  • Have a section of team coaching dedicated to chatting about the kids in the link ups.

What next?

After sharing our ideas with some of our kids we’ll be working with them (and you) to try these ideas out! So what do you think? Which ideas do you like or don’t like? Let us know your thoughts so Family by Family can truly include kids and value the amazing qualities that they have to offer.

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