7 Simple Ways to Enjoy Quality Time With Your Kids
As the old saying goes, the days are long but the years fly by… Our time with our children is short in the grand scheme of things, and when we look back on their childhood one day, we’ll never regret the quality time we spent with them.
But quality time sometimes feels hard to come by. Between work, school, extra-curricular activities, and the busy evenings, do you often find a whole day has gone by without any real, intentional time together? The good news is that quality time doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many tiny ways you can fit it into your day. It also doesn’t have to involve glitter and glue or crouching on the floor playing Barbies (although if you can stand it, playing Barbies is always encouraged!). You can find things to do together that you enjoy as much as they do.
At Good People we’ve come up with seven simple ideas for spending quality time with your little ones that won’t feel forced, and that you will all enjoy.
1. A dance party is always a good idea. In the spirit of keeping things simple, there is no simpler or quicker pick-me-up than music. No matter what’s going on at home, a dance party will lift the mood and bring you all together - and it involves zero effort, preparation or clean-up. Kids love the same cheesy classics we do (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody”, anybody?), and if we’re honest, who doesn’t secretly love to belt out a good Disney ballad (come on, just “Let It Go”, you’ll be so happy you did)?
Music is a great leveller, and you can listen to it together any time - between homework and bath time, while you’re cooking, or to get going in the morning. Family dance parties get our vote for the quickest, loudest and most fun example of quality family time.
2. Books, books, books. Books are not just a wonderful escape - they are a sure way to bring parent and child together. Making sure you find time in the day or evening to read together is a bonding experience for parents and children, and can become such a part of your family’s routine that you don’t even need to think about it. Research has shown that it’s the interaction between parent and child while you’re reading that really helps to feed and nurture the child’s brain - so don’t rush it. Let them ask questions as you go along, help them to make connections between what you’re reading and what's going on in their own lives, and really use the time to cuddle up together and forget about the outside world completely.
3. Make dinner time special. You have to eat anyway, so why not make family dinner time quality time with your kids? We have written a whole post on ways to make dinner time fun, rather than being a chore. We hope you find these ideas for connecting at the dinner table helpful and valuable.
4. Feed their individual passions. Spending one-on-one time with your children is the best way to get them to open up to you, and doing something they love together will only deepen your connection. What does each child like to do? Are they artistic? Sporty? Do they love creative play? Are they hilarious? They might love to visit an art gallery or science museum, go to a sports event with you, see a theatre performance, or a fun movie. Each child is different and tapping into what they love and then celebrating that together is real quality time that they’ll remember for life.
5. Make the car your sanctuary - or ditch it all together. How many hours a week do you spend in the car driving between activities? This time doesn’t have to be wasted or “useless”. Just shift your perspective. Think of this time together as “your shared time” - switch off the radio and leave devices at home, and take the opportunity to really chat. You could turn car time into “story time”, and tell them funny stories from your own childhood, or you could play “question time”, where you ask each other obscure or hilarious questions. You’re in a confined space together so don’t waste the opportunity to connect. Better yet, if you're able to walk to your destination, don’t try to “save time” by driving there. Rather “use the time” - leave home earlier and take a walk together. Point out interesting things you see on the way, let the fresh air inspire your conversation, and enjoy each other’s company.
6. DIYT = Do it together When you need to get something done, it’s always quicker and easier to do it on your own. But whether you’re throwing laundry in the machine, building that Ikea bookshelf or planting the spring flowers, consider including your children. They love to be pulled into a grown-up world, and entrusting them with one of your own tasks - no matter how menial - shows them how much you value and respect them. Of course, getting them involved will probably result in more mess and less efficiency, but if you accept that and build in extra time for the task, that won’t matter. Think of a task as a journey to a destination - and it’s always on the journey that we find the joy.
7. Go away together
In this new Covid world, travel has gone from being something we take for granted to a rare commodity. It's not as easy to plan a family holiday as it once was, but there are still ways you can get away together - even if it's only to a local campsite. Breaking away from your daily routine and taking time to relax is vital for connecting and making new memories as a family unit. Having fun together is more important now than ever.
The joy of their childhood is slipping quietly by… Give yourself the gift of relishing it in both the special and the everyday moments.