Cabin fever to quality time

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dreary winter weather can be a blessing in disguise. Being inside with your child offers the perfect opportunity for fun, quality time together &8212; time that may be even more important than you think.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your child needs to spend time with you, both physically and emotionally, to know you and to feel confident of your love. The more you show that you enjoy your child and appreciate his individuality, the more successful you&8217;ll be in helping him develop self esteem.

Arrange your schedule so you can direct your attention toward meeting your child&8217;s needs &8212; then enjoy yourself.

uMake up a shared scrapbook with her. Gather photos and mementos from your childhood and hers, then sit down and put them in a book as you write down memories. Start with a baby photo of each of you, what you each weighed and what you were like as a baby.

uWrite the president. Tell the kids to introduce themselves and express their feelings about one or two issues that are important to them. Later on, they should get a response in the mail from the White House &8212; be sure to add it to the scrapbook. Address letters to: President George W. Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500.

uStage a photo shoot. Search closets for the funniest, fanciest clothes you can find, then have the kids glam it up and ham it up for the camera.

Garland Stansell serves as director of corporate communications for Children&8217;s Health System