Modern parents need to juggle a hundred different roles, worker, cook, and housekeeper to name only a few. We may work long hours or work on the weekends. We may have a demanding job that requires us to bring work home. We also may find ourselves slaves to the household on the weekends, doing laundry and cleaning up the mess from the week. It’s easy to get bogged down by daily tasks and feel like we barely even have time for ourselves. However, it is extremely important to schedule recurring quality family time with our children. It’s true that we probably do spend a lot of time with our children, especially when they are younger. But, if the majority of the time spent with them is driving them to after school activities or watching TV together, then the time spent isn’t really quality time.
So, if you want to know how to make the most out of your time with your child(ren), here are a few tips that can help:
Never repair a leaky faucet, change a tire, paint the fence, or replace the furnace filter without your kids. Home improvements are a great way to spend time with them while teaching them about tools and life at the same time. The attic, the basement, and the crawl space are all classrooms for learning how things work and how to safely fix things. Give them a flashlight, and talk them through the job you’re doing. As they get older, hold the flashlight for them. Instead of dreading things that break, you’ll see new tiles, built-in shelves, and paint jobs as bonus chances for time with your kids.
Reflect On Your Own Childhood
Many of us want to parent differently from our parents. Even those who had a happy childhood may want to change some aspects of how they were brought up.
But very often, when we open our mouths, we speak just like our parents did. Reflecting on our own childhood is a step towards understanding why we parent the way we do. Make note of things you’d like to change and think of how you’d do it differently in a real scenario. Try to be mindful and change your behavior the next time those issues come up. Don’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. It takes practice. Lots of practice.
Special bedtime ritual
Have a routine that you and your child can do every night. It can be anything—making silly songs with funny words, pillow fights, or reading a book. Just make it special. Say “It’s going to be bedtime soon, let’s get ready for bed.” Let your child laugh at your silliness.
Don’t have a moment to spare until about 3 a.m.? You can still let your children know that you care. Write notes and drop them into their lunch boxes. This was one of the top ten things children told me made them feel loved and cared for by their parents. Other ideas would be to record a short video for them using a camera and leaving it for them at the breakfast table. Be creative here!
Quality vs Quantity
The objective is to spend the free time you get with your children, in a productive and positive manner. Utilize every bit of free time you get, which could include the time when you are driving your child to school and back, or when they come back from school and have not yet sat down to start their homework. You can have fun preparing dinner together and washing the dishes thereafter. All of this need not be done within one day and can be spread over the entire week as well as the weekend.