Parents and kids often have very busy schedules. This is no wonder, given all the school and work responsibilities, everyday stress, and housework. However, this doesn’t have to be an excuse not to spare time with your kids. However, it might lead you to fear that your kids will be bored, throw tantrums, or that you’re all going to be too flushed at the end of the day to entertain your kids.
How can I make our time with kids worthwhile?
You shouldn’t feel guilty for not spending as much time with your kids as you’d want, as it’s not the quantity of time, but the quality of time that really counts. You can have a lot of fun with them, all you need is a clear plan and to make some small changes. With the following tips you can’t go wrong, so read on!
Make sure that you have an established channel of communication with your kid. If you can’t make it to have a short recap or conversation at the beginning or end of the day, you can exchange notes with them with short messages, or agree to send a note, or make a short phone- or video-call.
Establish a family ritual
This doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate. It can be a small daily activity when you gather around and exchange notes, or a weekly or monthly get-together where you put all other plans on stand-by. For instance, you can do some housekeeping together, exchange hugs, or make a weekly family dinner.
Don’t skip meal time!
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it doesn’t matter. This is the time when you can gather, share a meal, and exchange views on the ongoing events. Researchers agree that family meal time is essential for bringing the sense of happiness and community to your home.
It’s one thing watching a movie or cartoons together, or reading an eBook out loud, but try to minimize the time you spend in front of the screen. Forget about scrolling through social media, messaging, or answering calls. If necessary, put your phone on airplane mode, set your laptop on standby, and leave your kids tablet in the cupboard, and focus on the precious time you can share.
Run a small project
Have a thing you’re working on together, be that a small landscaping project, building a bookhouse, treehouse, setting up bird feeders and birdhouses, stone painting, creating a LEGO table, and invite all family members. Even better, when you’re done, you can have a public display of your work, invite the whole neighborhood, and create a festive atmosphere.
Learn something new together
Visit a local museum, landmark, a historic district, or archeological site, and make sure that the tour guide gives you as much information as possible. Learn a new cooking technique together, try out a new recipe, or watch a documentary with your kids. Take a foreign language class with your kids, and learn from them.
Have a good laugh
Don’t forget to put a smile on their face, and have your own routine of jokes and anecdotes that you’ll enjoy telling over and over again. When times are hard, this will alleviate some of the stress, and show that you enjoy the company of your kids.
Reward positive action
Good behavior should be reinforced, so don’t forget to reward it with a “Bravo”, “Good job”, “Awesome”. Also, don’t forget to treat your kids to their favorite meals and toys when they’re exceptionally good.Over time, they’ll be motivated to act responsibly and amicably without expecting an actual reward, but don’t take that for granted! If you’ve promised something, stick to it!
You’re dropping them at school, or travelling to see a doctor, or taking your cat to the vet, or waiting with your family to catch a flight at the airport. There’s a number of games that you can play with your kids without toys. However, for toddlers and younger children in general, having their favorite doll, teddy, or action hero might serve as an additional reassurance, so make sure to have them handy.
In addition, since kids love physical activity, make sure to take them to open door parks in the vicinity, or in case of inclement weather, to an enclosed fun park like Uptown Jungle in Peoria just a couple of blocks away.
Don’t take your time together for granted. Tell your kids how much they mean to you, hug them, kiss them, and show them your love. This way, they are more likely to grow up into caring and loving individuals, with better self-esteem, a likeable personality, and higher emotional IQ.