Hey ya’ll! Do you ever ask yourself, “Am I spending enough time with my kids?” (I sure do!) In this article I am going to give you some tips on how to spend quality time with your kids. Between work, household chores, school, and the many other duties we juggle on a weekly basis there’s not much time left for “fun”. So, how can we incorporate family time into our busy life?
Disclaimer- I AM NOT a professional therapist, counselor, or doctor. These suggestions are simply ideas that have worked for my family. If you are looking for professional help, please discontinue reading now. But if you are interested in some helpful tips I encourage you to read on!
What Is Quality Time?
We hear this term pretty often. But what does “quality time” really mean?
To me, “quality time” means a moment where you are undistracted and fully focused on what you are engaged in.
Which means “quality time with our kids” would be when we put our phones down, turn the T.V. off, and forget our work for the moment, so we can enjoy our time with the people who matter to us most!
And in those moments our kids will have a better understanding of the love that we have for them. As well as, help to create a lasting, meaningful bond!
How To Create Quality Time With Your Kids
Creating quality time with our kids on a daily basis can seem daunting and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!
While kids love big adventures, like vacations and theme parks, the moments they tend to remember the most are the small ones. Such as, an afternoon at the park, fishing with dad, or even a trip to the ice cream shop.
However, while these trips are small but mighty, they also are not realistic on a daily basis. Life is busy and budgets are tight. So, how do we create quality time with our kids on a daily basis, without neglecting our everyday responsibilities and spending a fortune?
#1: Sieze The Moment
I decided to try “seizing the moment”. I’ve never been very good at that. In the back of my mind I’m generally thinking, “I could be doing something a little more productive with my time (like a load of laundry)”. I also tend to get so focused on “capturing” the moment that I forget to “live” in it. But spending quality time with my kids is not done from behind a lens. Having photo albums (yes, I am slightly old fashioned) to store memories in are fine. However,I don’t think my kids will thank me down the road for not pushing them on the swing because I wanted to snap a pic (or ten) of them sitting on it.
Little moments with great opportunity pop up everyday. My kids will randomly start singing and dancing while I’m making supper. I used to tell them to stop goofing off or go to their room if they wanted to be noisy…but then I realized- I don’t need silence to cook so why not join in and dance like a fool with them! (hehe)
#2: Schedule Quality Time With Your Kids On A Daily Basis
Purposefully creating time to spend with my kids opened my eyes to things that I had overlooked before.
Firstly, my oldest son (twin #1) is a creative, deep thinker. He loves Legos and can build anything you can imagine, with great detail!
Secondly, my daughter (twin #2) is extremely artistic. She has been able to color within the lines and imitate drawings on her own since she’s been 6 years old!
Then there’s my youngest. Looking at him you’d see a cute, yet extremely ornery, fella. He doesn’t seem to pay attention and just loves to terrorize. However, if you look a little deeper he will surprise you! He has an incredible memory (I can’t beat him at Memory Match Game) and his imagination could take him far someday!
I may sound a little biased. But my point is that if I hadn’t purposefully taken the time to spend quality time with my kids, plus take advantage of the small opportunities, I may have missed those significant details.
Remember Why Quality Time With Your Kids Is Important
Scheduling time for your kids doesn’t have to be literally on the schedule. It’s as easy as coloring a picture while dinner is in the oven or reading a 5 minute book before bed. (I have a full list of ideas below). Kids just need to know that you want to be there for them and with them. And what better way for them to know you care than by spending quality time with them!
We, as parents, can get so wrapped up in the stress of our work and “to do” lists that we forget about why we are working so hard to begin with! Supporting our children isn’t just bringing home a paycheck and putting food on the table. It’s also about an emotional connection that makes love grow deep, not only in us but in them as well.
As my kiddos get older I’m realizing there are two things that are super important to them- our love and our time. Our love is easy to give but our time can be a struggle. Unfortunately, if we aren’t spending quality time with our kids, then they see that as we love them less, or maybe not at all.
When my kids made this realization to me it was like a slap in the face. I try my hardest to be the best mom I can be! But all of the “stuff” I was doing doesn’t mean as much to them as my time does. So, that’s when I decided that sometimes “stuff” can wait and I can live in the moment with my family without the world falling apart!
#3: Take Advice And Make It Yours
I was very fortunate to have fantastic parents who knew how to spend quality time with their kids. They not only took the time to hear our meaningless rants, but also taught us life skills.
My dad, who had his own construction business, would take the time to teach us part of his trade. Like, how to build a house, shingle a roof, and mud new drywall. (None of which I’m an expert in). As for my mom, she was a “stay at home” mom. Not only to me, but also to my brother, my sister, and multiple foster kids that came in and out of our home over the years. She taught me everything I’ll ever need to know on raising my own crew and keeping a clean house. As well as, how to mow the yard and how to be a strong woman!
My parents also taught us how to build a strong imagination! We didn’t own a T.V. or computer until I was nearly graduated from high school. A radio was the most exciting electronic we owned. In the evenings we would listen to stories on cassette or my parents would tag team telling us kids a wild adventure story. (I still remember some of them). We would also put on concerts and play games together.
However, one of my favorite things we did was simply sitting on our deck under the stars and having a real conversation. Life, politics, religion- no subject was off limits or shied away from. And our opinion always mattered.
Let your kiddos know that you hear them and there’s no judgement, no matter how ridiculous they sound (we’ve all been there). Then use those moments to offer advice that will help guide them through life.
#4: Build Strong Relationships With Communication
Having an open and honest relationship with your child starts simply with communication, and the younger you start the better.
I’ve heard so many moms say they regret that they never took the time to have more than a “how was your day?” conversation with their child. They were always too busy with work or chores. Now, they want that relationship with their college age child but the line of communication has a little static.
So, I took their advice and started having actual conversations with my kids as soon as they could talk. There have been times that I’ve answered questions that I wouldn’t have wanted to answer even if they were 30! (Of course, I answered them in a kid friendly way.) But I want my kids to know that they can come to me with anything, from a hangnail to a broken heart. I will listen and won’t judge. And I will give my honest, heartfelt opinion or advice.
I also refuse to tell even a “white lie” to my kids, even about Santa Clause. We have always told them that Santa is just a mascot who adds cheer to the holiday. (However, I have nothing against those who do let their kiddos believe in Santa!)
In my opinion “white lies” opens the door to bigger lies. And when trust is broken, it’s incredibly hard to restore, and I don’t want to be in that situation with my kiddos.
So, by applying some of the advice (not all advice is good advice so use discernment) I was given I am building a stronger relationship with my kids on a daily basis…and it all starts with communication!
Spending Quality Time With Our Kids Maintains The Bridge
Honesty builds trust, trust builds respect, and respect builds love. When one is damaged the domino affect happens and the whole foundation crumbles. My family is not perfect and my methods may eventually have a defect (I’m sure my kids will hate me at some point in their teenage years). But I will always keep that bridge of honesty, respect, and love in working order for as long as I live.
I encourage you to break up your routine and prioritize what truly matters- spending quality time with your kids! If I can, you certainly can too! Go seize your moments!
Ideas For Spending Quality Time With Your Kids:
- TALK and LISTEN. (Even if their stories are long and make no sense to you. Show them you are interested because you love them.)
- Build a tower with blocks. (Even if your toddler wants to knock them over 5 blocks high.)
- Create a lego masterpiece. (5-10 minutes is plenty of time to create something interesting.)
- Have a concert. (Grab some pots to drum on or shake a lidded cup filled with small toys.)
- Dance party. (I’m a horrible dancer. But my kids find it entertaining.)
- Play an age appropriate board game. (I even enjoy playing Candy Land.)
- Race Matchbox cars down the hallway. (Or on any solid flooring. Add obstacles and ramps for more challenges and excitement.)
- Shoot hoops. (Grab a basket/bucket and a foam ball. Test your shooting skills by stepping back every time you make a shot.)
- Card games. (Our family favorites are Match Game and Go Fish, even a 3 year old can catch on pretty fast.)
- Play dress up. (Let the kids dress you up; with their imagination you will look spectacular. HeHe)
Quick Activities For The END OF THE DAY
- Charades. ( A great game for when you have only 5 minutes before bed!)
- Trivia. (This is a great way to expand your knowledge while having fun!)
- Color a picture. (This is perfect for those evenings when your energy is zapped.)
- Teach your child a hand game. (example: Double Double This That or Patty Cake.)
- Read books together. (Look and Find books make story time fun for everyone.)