As schedules get packed and our lives fill with to-do’s, it’s easy to let life get in the way of quality time with our kids. While we’d all like to have endless quality time, the reality is sometimes we just have to make the most of the time we have to spare!
In my journey to unplug more and spend more time genuinely connecting with my kids, I’ve found some tips that work for us to make any time quality time.
In the car
When you’re in the car, keep the radio off, ignore your phone and make that time all about your kids. Ask them about their day, about school, about their social life and relationships. Just like dinner time around the dining room table, car rides are a great opportunity to really connect with your kids, sans technology distractions. When I was younger and my mom was a busy single mom who didn’t have a ton of time to spare, we always bonded in the car. As I grew older, I counted on that uninterrupted time in the car to bring up things that were on my mind, or confide in her about things happening in my life with friends, boyfriends and school.
Consider stretching out your bedtime routine to pad in a little extra bonding time. While it’s easy to rush through the routines and get from teeth brushing to tucking-in quickly so we can all go about wrapping up our grown-up to-dos, take a little extra time to sit by their bed and recap their day, check in with them about what’s going on in their little world. It gives both of you a little extra time to unwind and bond before turning in for the night.
Since I had the baby, I’ve tried to find ways to sneak in a little extra one-on-one time with my oldest. While bringing him along when I run errands isn’t necessarily the most convenient option, it’s the perfect option if I need some quality time with him. In addition to bonding to-and-from while we’re in the car, I also try and get him involved with the errands. He’ll push the shopping cart, hold the shopping list for me, I’ll engage him about his opinions if I’m choosing between things or drumming up a project. All of those small gestures are a huge deal in his eyes and they go a long way for bonding and validating for him how important his time, his help and his opinions are to me. It would be easy to leave him behind and knock out my errands in half the time (and get some much-needed me time while I’m at it!), but we’d both miss out on a prime opportunity for quality time.
In the kitchen
A few weeks back, my son’s preschool teacher told us how helpful he is in the mornings at school. He had been setting the table, helping to prepare breakfast… things I honestly hadn’t even thought of engaging him in before! Since then, instead of hustling through making breakfast or lunch while he sits at the table and waits for me to finish, I try and get him involved in the kitchen. By letting him grab the bread, or build the sandwiches and be my little helper in the kitchen, it turns what would otherwise be just one more to-do on my list into something fun we can do together.
How do you find ways to fit in quality time in your day-to-day?