Spending quality time with your kids has more to do with savoring small moments in an ordinary day than creating fancy parties and finishing complicated projects. It is the small and meaningful interactions when you are doing simple tasks like tying your child’s shoes, bedtime stories, and family dinners, that are essential to your child’s development and future relationships.
As a parent, you’re preparing them to be productive and successful adults. You’re also helping to set the patterns for their adult friendships and relationships.
Even if you feel like you’re short on time and juggling multiple responsibilities at home or at work, there are many opportunities to incorporate spending quality time into your daily routines. Start with these practical ideas.
General Principles for Spending Quality Time with Your Kids:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Do you feel a little guilty when you see Facebook posts from parents who take their children on exotic vacations or treat them to expensive hobbies? Instead of making comparisons, it’s more constructive to focus on activities that suit your family budget and lifestyle. Remember, it’s the small moments that make the difference. Have a pillow fight, build a fort, or read a book using funny voices to narrate.
- Pay attention to your kids. Let your child know how much you care about them. Listen closely to what they have to say. When you’re together, try to be fully present instead of looking at your phone or thinking about your to do list. See below on ways to spend one on one time with your kids. Spending quality time with your kids can be life changing when they know you care about them
- Be grateful and show it. Give your child plenty of praise and positive reinforcement. Congratulate them when they bring their grades up in a subject that has been difficult for them. Thank them for being patient with their younger siblings or for setting the table without being asked.
- Discover their interests. Find out what your child likes to do, so you can participate too. You may both enjoy playing video games or listening to jazz music. I introduced my kids to the awesome music of the 80s. We love to dance to music from Flash Dance or just fun songs like Gloria, or 8675309/Jenny. My kids have taught me some really cool and not so cool dance moves like the floss and dab.
- Notice that their desires will change with age. Remember that your child’s needs will change over time. As they grow from a toddler into a teen, they expect more independence, but they’ll probably still welcome an invitation to practice driving or watch a favorite show.
- Remain available. Quality time can happen anywhere. You’re bound to find promising opportunities as long as you make yourself accessible. I am at this moment typing this blog post in my kitchen. I want to be accessible to my kids when they come and go or if they just need a minute to talk.
Practical Examples of Quality Time:
- Eat family meals. Eat together as often as possible. If you run into frequent conflicts with weekday dinners, try gathering for breakfast or catching up on weekends. Yesterday we shared some brownies at 9:00 p.m. because our family is so busy.
- Share chores. Ask your children to join you when you’re shopping for groceries or cleaning your kitchen. You’ll have a chance to talk, and they’ll learn valuable life skills.
- Schedule one on one time. Arrange to spend some individual time with each of your children on a regular basis. You’ll learn more about them and enjoy meaningful conversations that you would otherwise miss. Taking them out for an ice cream cone is a great and inexpensive way to spend one on one with your child. They have your undivided attention and you have theirs.
- Travel together. Family vacations and driving to soccer games can both provide time to talk while you’re on your way to your destination. Check in with each other and let the conversation flow naturally.
- Volunteer as a family. Helping others can draw you closer to your children. Support a cause you both care about or browse online for a local volunteer clearinghouse where you can explore your options. Our family loves going to the local food bank to sort food and decorate food boxes to deliver to families in need.
- Share pictures. Face to face communications are the most significant but sharing pictures can help you stay in touch too. Send each other funny or moving images you come across during your day. Build an album you can look through together. My family and I share memes and Youtube videos that make us laugh. I love it when my kids call me randomly just to tell me something weird that just happened or an awkward conversation they just had.
- Connect daily. Even if you work outside the home and see your child for only a few hours most days, quality time pays off as long as you’re consistent. Make it a habit to chat for about 15 minutes when you arrive home or before you go to bed. During my lunch break I sent a text to my husband and kids letting them know how much I love them, and that I hope they are having a good day.
Use quality time to build a positive relationship with your child/children and give them a solid foundation for becoming happy and productive adults. Savor the moments you spend together and create memories you will all cherish.
Pin it for later!
GET FREE ACCESS TO OUR LIBRARY OF FREE PRINTABLES AND RESOURCES!
Enter Your Name and Email for FREE Access to our Library of FREE Home and Family Printables Series!