“Mommy, can you stop working and play with me?”
This is such a simple request, yet many parents struggle to do this.
Whenever my daughter wants me to spend some time with her, my responses are often, “in a little bit, honey” or “let me finish the dishes first”.
Personally, as a working mom, I have a lot of mom guilt for not being able to spend quality time with my kids as often as I’d like to. As I juggle work and house work, spending quality time with the kids can sometimes be a challenge.
So, how much quality time are parents spending with their child? According to OurWorldInData.org, the average amount of time university-educated moms spend with their children is 120 minutes a day in America. The average amount of time university-educated dads spend with their children is just 85 minutes a day. This is so disheartening. However, since most parents work during the day and kids are at school most of the day, I am not surprised to hear this at all.
When we spend time with family, we should know that “quality” is more important than “quantity”. Here are some reasons why quality time with your children is so important. Family time offers many benefits, including the following:
- Let them know that they matter and build children’s self-esteem
- Gives you the opportunity to inculcate values, guide them along the right path and develop positive behavior
- Encourages open communication with your children
- Allows you to teach them new things
- Help your children perform better academically
- Allows you to pass on family traditions
- Strengthens family bonds
My eldest is 4 now, but we’ve already seen instances when it’s clear she needed more quality time with us. If she had continuously acted out, and it would be a perfectly normal day, that’s when I know we need to try for more quality time.
So, what are some things that you can do together if you only have a few moments to spare every day? Here are some suggestions on how to spend quality time with your child.
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1. Have meals together
The idea here is to integrate together-time into daily activities.
Everybody needs to eat, so why not eat together?
You can have breakfast or dinner together when it’s easier to have everyone at the table together.
As you’re enjoying your meal together, share your thoughts and have meaningful conversations.
2. Cook together
Let your kids help by giving them easier tasks. It’s probably going to take longer, and they will make a mess at first, but they will always remember the preparation time before dinner as a special time with you.
Cooking is also a great way to pass down family recipes, especially the ones that are from your grandmother’s handwritten recipe book.
3. Do chores together
Create a playlist and clean the house together while you have a dance party. It will make it fun. At the same time, your child will feel proud and responsible for helping with chores.
4. Exercise together
This can be a lot of fun. If you don’t have membership to the gym, you can work out at home together. Teach your kids how to exercise. You can start simple and move on to more difficult routines in time.
You can even ride bikes together, or try out something new like roller skating if you’re up for it!
5. Run errands together
Make your grocery runs together, and have them help by finding things on the list, and putting them into the cart.
6. Make use of bedtime routines
Reading is a great way to bond. Let your kids pick the books they want to read, then discuss about the book that you’ve read together.
As kids get older, they probably want to be more independent, but you can still set aside time to talk about their day.
7. Make use of mornings
If you’re really short of time, try waking up 15 minutes earlier to spend some cuddle time with your kids. Maybe have your child help you with preparing breakfast.
Even though it’s a short 15-minute session, and you might not think it’s significant time at all, just know that your kids will remember it.
8. Help younger children with school work
By helping them with schoolwork, you can get to understand your child’s strength and weaknesses.
When you set aside time to help them, it lets them know that you care. They will be more likely to open up to you about their weaknesses and fears because they know that you are by their side.
9. Have a family dance party
Turn on the music and just let loose. Teach your children some slick moves, or just copy their movements. Children will giggle a lot during this activity.
10. Put away technology
Focus on each other by putting away all technology. It will be hard at first, but if we make it a point to put away our IPads and phones, it’s going to be easier to make memories together.
11. Plan an activity to do together outside the house once a month
This can be a hiking trip at a place that you’ve never been to before.
Alternatively, you could consider doing charitable activities together like serving food at the local church. Helping others can help instill a sense of gratitude and love in younger kids.
12. Play pretend together with younger kids
My kids love to play doctor. My eldest would insist that I be the patient and have me lie down so she can examine me for any sickness. For younger kids, pretend play is so important for their development. Let them take the lead and all you have to do is follow.
You could also make a fort with cardboard boxes together. You’ll be amazed to see how silly kids can get.
13. Play card or board games with older kids
Play the silly and wacky kids games.
As you’re doing so, help them learn how to take turns, how to win and how to lose graciously. Praise them if they have done a good job. Finally, laugh with them when something silly happens.
14. Take family walks together everyday after dinner
Just getting out and walking around the neighborhood will do a world of good!
Even if it’s raining, dress your kids in their favorite rain gear and let them splash in the muddy puddle. Rainy day play is loads of fun because most kids love water!
15. Have family movie night and a living room sleepover
Make it fun by adding popcorn, snuggle up with each other and watch a special movie together.
Extend this family activity by having a living room sleepover. Kids would love the chance of sleeping in the living room with you. For them, it’s something new and exciting compared to their usual beds.
With little ones, this may seem impossible, but if you play a movie that they enjoy watching, and have some of their favorite snacks out, they will have a good time!
16. Use notes to make them feel loved
If you really don’t have time to spend with your kids, you could still let them know that you love them by dropping them a note in their lunch boxes.
Use technology to your advantage and create a short video to send to your children with a message.
17. Take pictures together everyday
Take selfies together. My daughters love it when we do it and it’s so much fun listening to my daughters giggle. When you have a month’s worth of pictures, make a photo book so you can easily look back. Children grow up too quickly, and this is a great way to capture the moment!
How often should you play with your child? It could be as little as 30 minutes each day, but make it consistent. Playing with your kid has lots of benefits. You create memories together that will last forever, and it also lets your child know that he or she is loved. It lays the foundation for open communication when the need arises.
Spending time with your children provides you the opportunity to learn more about them, and gives them the chance to learn from you at the same time. More importantly, it allows you to bond with your children. So leave those dishes or laundry unwashed for an hour. Take those extra moments to spend with your children. It’s these everyday moments that your children will remember as you make them feel loved.
If you have enjoyed reading these suggestions on how to spend quality time with your kids, please share this post with your friends and family.
Before you go, check out my other post here: How To Raise Outdoor-Loving Kids
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