I can already hear some of you saying: …But how? How do we find time when we have more than one child? How do we find time when we work outside the home? How do I find time when our partner doesn’t help with the housework? How do I find time when I am tired and exhausted? Well, that is one question that comes up time and time again with the parents I coach. I wish I had a magic answer that would fit all the possible reasons why finding time for your children can be a challenge. What I do know is that, once you find a way to incorporate quality time into routines and activities you already do, it becomes much easier and less of a to-do and more of a “ta-daah”! (can you hear the drum rolls?)
These are all ways to incorporate “one-on-one” time without having to spend money or carve huge amounts of time for them.
For those of you ready to leap into designating more specific family time, turning off the TV or computer is another way that helps you create that special time. When I was growing up, my family parents were big fans of board games. We spent many a night playing Monopoly and Life, or trying to keep quiet while playing old fashioned Operation. These days, we have new games that my family enjoys and my daughter loves the popular ‘theme” games; Princess Monopoly or Sponge Bog Life. We also like crafting together – just being inventive with the stuff around our house and seeing what we create. I have learned that our daughter and I can always have some quality time doing some scrap booking together, something we both enjoy immensely. My daughter loves to help cook, so we let her drag her stepstool over and work alongside us. The bottom line is that you can make everyday life routines a family-focused activity. One of the things our daughter enjoys most is reading, so I try to spend at least a few minutes a day reading to her and we also make sure we have a family game night every week. We play the computer games or pull out the UNO cards or get a board game.
Another great opportunity to have time together is to sit together at the table and eat dinner together. Dinnertime conversations (either at our table or at a restaurant) are always a great opportunity to connect, regardless of what’s being served. Get creative: Have an indoor picnic on the floor. Serve banana splits for dinner or pasta for breakfast. Choose a day and announce that you will be having dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Serve boxed macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets and fries in the morning and make pancakes or eggs and toast for dinner. You might have dessert before you have dinner and serve the main course afterwards. Kids love this one.
Make time to have fun with your children. It will pay off in a 100 different ways and is worth every minute.
"Your children need your presence far more than your presents." Jesse Jackson