How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids (5 Tips)
We all wish that there were more hours in the day. More often than not, every mom feels like she just hasn’t done enough with her day when she finally crawls into bed at night. And usually she feels most guilty about the time she didn’t spend with her kids. That guilt leaves moms feeling dissatisfied, self-doubting, and unhappy.
I am here to show you how to change that. Yes, life is busy, and the days seem short, but it is possible to make more time for your kids every day and go to bed feeling good.
#1 – Make spending time with your kids a priority.
Build it into your day. Write it on your list. Make it one of things that you can cross off when completed.
Going to the post office? Bring one of your kids and let them put the mail in the slot. Cooking dinner? Have one of your kids sit at the breakfast bar and help you chop the veggies. Walking the dog? Let one of your kids hold the leash. See how you can do that? And if you give your kids some responsibilities during your activities, you are killing two birds with one stone – time well spent and a life lesson given.
Jackie never included her kids in her errands because she thought they would find them boring, and she couldn’t finish them efficiently. And then, one day, her 9 year old son came into the kitchen as she was making dinner. She asked him if he wanted to cut the mushrooms.
His eyes lit up, and he said YES. She set him up with her biggest, safest knife, and he cut the mushrooms. They weren’t as perfect as she might have made them, and it took a bit longer than usual, but the look on her son’s face as he wielded that knife and the chatting they did as he cut them made it all worth while.
#2 – Recognize the difference between quality and quantity time.
So many moms don’t do what they want to do because they think they don’t have enough time. They don’t exercise because they think they need more time than they have, so they give up the whole thing. It’s the same with spending time with your kids. You don’t need to spend an hour with them and organize some fancy activity. Talk to them in car on the way home from school. Take a few minutes at bed-time to connect whenever you can, ask them about themselves and their experiences. Just make the minutes worthwhile.
#3 – Make a date.
I know this goes against what I wrote above, but you should have regular dates with every important person in your life (including yourself!). Our lives are so chaotic and jam-packed, and it’s important to take the time to connect with the people who are important to you. So, make a date with your child. Go to the movies, get some ice cream, take a drive, indulge in a little fast food. Make a date and make it memorable.
One of my clients made an effort to take her kids camping every year. Just her and her kids. No spouse. They eat jiffy pop and marshmallows, go miniature golfing, and stay up late around the campfire. It is a special and memorable time every year, one that they all look forward to. You can do something like this or smaller, more frequent outings.
#4 – Get involved in their activities.
Kids these days are busy, busy, busy, just like their parents. What better way to share time with them than by partaking in one of their activities. You can volunteer to coach their soccer team, be the classroom mom, or be the designated driver to summer camp. Better yet, you can get involved in an activity with them. You could enroll in a class together… martial arts, ballets, arts and crafts, anything you want.
A client of mine enrolled in a sewing class with her daughter. They had both always wanted to learn how to sew, and this was the perfect opportunity. They got to spend time together, laugh together when they made mistakes, and ultimately each made a piece of clothing that will always remind them of their time together. Priceless.
#5 – Get off your phone!
I am sure this one bears no explanation but no list about spending time with your kids is complete without it. Time spent on your phone, tablet, or laptop is not spent with your kids- no matter how good at multitasking you think you are. So, when your kids are around, please turn it off. If you do, you will find the time to make the suggestions above. And your kids will love you for it.
We moved to Tokyo when my kids were little, and when we asked them what they liked best about living there, they both said, “mom’s cell phone stayed in Maine.” Telling…
Your life is chaotic, jam packed and crazy, but finding ways to make more time with your kids is still important. Doing so will improve your relationship with them and allow you to go to bed at night feeling less guilty. Wouldn’t that feel great?
What do you do to spend time with your kids? All would appreciate creative ideas, I am sure!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.
Sweet suggestions Mitzi. I remember my mom taking me to work with her and giving me a job whether it was reading to someone or making copies…(she was a teacher). Sometimes I just read my book or watched her work. Special memories.
One of my long-time friends and coach Gayle, who I met in travel, said something that stuck with me forever.
It was a question, “How can we get more of that into your life?”
To me, that meant not to worry about what you don’t want so much, but start making space for what you want. Bad stuff gets crowded out.
I thought I was going to see comments about “saying no” which is probably good advice in life, but I think doing so leaves a void …
And so, love the “make a date” idea. Take the time to put it on the calendar.