Let’s face it! We are too often busy all day long. We spend a lot of time watching TV, traveling from home to work and back, working, going shopping, and so on. Sometimes we only don’t even notice that days pass us by almost ‘in the blink of an eye’. If you ask, every parent will say that their children are the most important they have in their lives. But, in many cases, most of us have never noticed that we don’t spend enough time with our children. We think we do, but let think twice.
Many parents start to avoid spending time with friends, to go to the theatre, or at the gym because they want to spend more time with their children. But, in the end, we find ourselves watching TV sitting on the same couch with our kids. We definitely sit side by side and in the same room, but we literally wash the dishes or prepare a meal while our children eat, play, and entertain themselves. Am I right?
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What We Do and What We Believe We Do is Not The Same
I think that there is a significant misunderstanding between all these advice from newspapers, Facebook groups for better parenting, and all these books we have read since we found out that we were pregnant, and the way we understand and accept these tips.
The point is that we insist on the number of hours we should spend with our children. What a mistake! The most important is to understand that quality of time is crucial.
All in all, everything our children need is a daily “connect” time with us. They need a routine, commitment, our undivided attention, creativity, and love. That’s it.
Time for Your Child Should Belong Only to Your Child
Things with children are quite simple, you know. Love them, create a daily routine dedicated to them, read books with them at bedtime, tell your children that you love them every single day. Make meals with your child and find time to eat together. When you set the time for your child, turn off the cell phone or do not answer calls. Turn off the TV. Instead, listen to the radio or CD which both of you like the most.
Play with your kid during bath time. Go to the park or ZOO together. Laugh together. Be silly sometimes. Be silly all the time. Their childhood won’t last forever. It is the sad truth. Don’t let yourself to wake up one day and realize that you no longer have anyone to play with. Work won’t love you at all. Your child has loved you since she was born. And she will love you forever. Don’t screw up your relationship because you ‘have no time’ or because you ‘are busy’.
People too often believe that spending time with their children requires a lot of money and expensive toys. The fact is that kids don’t care about prices, high-priced pastime, and kind nannies. They want their parents and time with them. No more – no less. Spending some quality time with your child should not be difficult. It only needs to be unusual and fun.
I will give you a few tips how to spend quality time with your child without a lot of money. You just need to organize yourself well, put a smile on your face, and grab your child by the hand. The whole new world will open before your eyes, and your child will be happy and satisfied.
Let’s Start – I Promise, It Will Not Be Hard to Try At All
Go on a ‘breakfast date’ before her school.
You always can have a ‘breakfast date’ with your child. Why wouldn’t make it be a routine? You have to take her to school anyway. Why wouldn’t stop by the bakery and have breakfast together at least ones a week? For example, you can organize ‘Mom’s and Daughter’s’ common Monday’s breakfast. It will not be hard for you, but it will be a reason for your child to wait every single Monday eagerly. If you try, you will see that you will catch yourself waiting for this day too.
Read her favorite children’s books together
You should start with a small chapter. It will be enough to read one chapter a day in the beginning. The perfect time for this activity is the bed-time. You should turn off the TV and replace your favorite series with ‘reading time‘ for your kid. Convert reading a book into a real happening which will include your beloved cat and a dog, or your child’s favorite soft toys as an audience. If you add snacks, juices, or cookies, it will start to be the favorite part of the day for both of you.
Enjoy the neighborhood on the way to school
Have you ever thought about a possibility to take the child to the school on foot? OK, sometimes it is not possible because you have to go to work, but maybe you can organize such a day at the minimum ones a week. There is a remarkable probability that you can make a day in the way which excludes a car. What do you think? You will get a few enjoyable minutes walking through the park and playing the game ‘pick the nicest houses in the neighborhood’ together. Don’t forget that it will be the excellent opportunity for your child to learn colors and names of all the objects you spot along the way.
Before dropping a child in a music school or to a swimming lesson, go for donuts, or feed the pigeons along the road. Instead of driving away and return to the child later, take a walk. Bring the book with you, sit in some nice cafe, have a cup of coffee, and wait for the end of the training. It will be a quality time you can spend with yourself and enjoy your thoughts. Anyway, you can only spend time reading. The bonus is that walking in both directions will successfully replace the time which you would typically spend at the gym or exercise aerobics. It is 3 in 1 benefit if you ask me.
Discover exciting activities in the kitchen together
Cook together. Generally, children love to help their moms in the kitchen. Let them chop or knead something. Bake bread together. Make a natural juice in the blender after they peel fruit. Wash the dishes and let your child wipes them. The possibilities are endless, believe me. And your enjoyment during these activities will be immeasurable.
Establish special Popcorn and Ice-Cream traditions, For example, ‘Popcorn day’ on Sundays and ‘Ice-Cream day’ once a week. These would be days when you make homemade food together. Remember, every ‘tradition’ has a special meaning for a child because it doesn’t happen that often and she has to wait for that particular day. What a simple way to make your kid happy! Make your day!
Organize spontaneous picnic from time to time or make it traditional custom
Go on a picnic at least for one weekend during the month. Your child will love all the process, including preparation, the trip and the lunch in nature. Well, you can organize a spontaneous one from time to time and make a big surprise every kid will adore! Just pick her up from school, and instead of going home, show her a basket full of snack and cakes. During rainy days you can make an inside picnic too. I know that healthy food is a priority, but one cake won’t kill any of you. Finally, you don’t organize a picnic every day.
Announce ‘a special night’ and let her impatiently wait for the evening
If your child has some favorite meal whose preparation requires a lot of time, surprise her occasionally and prepare ‘a favorite meal night’ just for her. Moreover, there is no limit. You can have ‘pizza night’, ‘pancake night’, ‘egg night’ and so on. The point is that it is not a daily activity. Simply announce ‘a special day’ after lunch, for example, and make your kid is waiting for the evening you will spend together eagerly.
These nights will be a unique opportunity for both of you to cook together, to set up a table together, or to go to get food for dinner. That means more fun for both and more time which you will spend with each other. Honestly, possibilities are endless!
Play game – it is possible to turn every event into the game
Play games all the time. Any game is good enough. Every occasion is the right for a play. There are plenty of possibilities to turn every event into the game. Be imaginative, be wild, and make surprises! Play outdoors inside the house. Have you ever tried to play ‘hide and seek’ in the house? It is fun!
Make a tent in the child’s room. Use sheets and towels for that purpose and discover how such a simple thing can bring a lot of happiness to your child. Build a fortress out of the Lego cubes and pretend to be the princess in trouble. Be a clown! Red nose, a little makeup, and silly behavior are all you need. Look for something that is apparently in front of your eyes, but you should pretend that you can’t find it.
Look at the child! She will burst into uncontrollable laughter every single time. The point is not in the type of game you pick out. Spending time together is that make all these moments precious. Assume roles, challenge your kid and be a kid again. It is possible. You just need to try.
Turn learning into fun
Apparently, every child needs to learn a lot of things. Some of the tasks are easy, and children prefer learning and solving them. There are lessons kids just don’t like at all. Also, there are some of the activities no one kid doesn’t want to accept as a daily routine. Sometimes it depends on child’s interests. It’s always a good idea to present the obligation as something fun and as the part of the game.
For example, children generally don’t like tidying their rooms. Every parent hates toys all around, unmade beds, and a mess all over the house. But, it seems that our children adore that. The trick is to wisely convince them to finish the housework so that they believe they want to do it themselves.
The point is to make them finish housework without considering it as the obligation. If you present duty as a game instead of forcing the kids to do the task, they will happily do what they usually hate.
For example, organize a competition for your child. You can pretend that dirty socks are basketball balls she needs to insert in a basket of laundry. Put the paper and a pen on the door and let your kid type every successful hit. Select the result at the end of the week. Believe it or not, it works!
Above all, try to give your kids the exclusive ‘gift of time’. Avoid answers such as ‘not right now’, ‘I can’t talk at the minute’ or something like that. Stop for a moment! Few minutes mean nothing to you, but for your kid, it will make a difference. Any job will wait for a while without a problem, but your child may remember that particular moment when you have left the job especially for her. The game of that day will be ‘the something special’ even it seems to you like the regular play.
Make horrible rainy days unforgettable
Do you remember those disgusting rainy days when you just don’t know what to do? Can you assume how sad and annoying are those days to your child? Why don’t you try to turn them into a party?
While it’s raining, do something side by side. Set puzzles, solve the riddle, play Monopoly, or enjoy the various social games together. Make a bunch of homemade bubbles. Have a camp in the living room. Organize a dance party. Make a house of books and create Origami animals. Make apricot jam or jam of strawberries and apples you have picked up during the picnic. Well, these bought on the market will be OK too.
Choose a day when you can be ‘naughty’
Be naughty from time to time and do things which are usually forbidden. Take the dinner in bed. Eat a whole pack of ice cream at once. Play video games for hours. Spend all Sunday in your pajamas. Pop popcorn and watch favorite TV movies all day long. Tiny violations of rules can be relaxing if they are not a habit.
Outdoors activities are inexhaustible sources of fun for all the family
Organize snowball fight for your child or have a barbecue in the garden, depending on the season. Make bird feeders in the backyard. Grab your camera, go to the wood together, and make unique photos of your nature walk. Visit the library and borrow new books. Go to a local museum or enjoy fantastic nearby tourist attractions. Go for a simple drive. Practice Hula Hoop. Look for constellations during the night and pick out your favorite star. Catch bugs. Go for a long bike ride. Your kid will adore all the above!
Teach your kid to take care of the environment and to help people in need
Show your child how to make the simple lemonade stand and raise funds for humanitarian purposes. Recycle old clothes, plastic and glass bottles, old paper, even plastic bottle caps. Pick out clothing and footwear that the child has grown old, and give it to some low-income families. Help an old granny to cross the street. Go and buy supplies for a sick neighbor. Make a cake for the friend. Feed a hungry cat. Buy the pet; your child will be delighted having a new friend.
The possibilities are unlimited. All these ways are excellent to teach your child to be a human and kind person. Plus, you can have a great time doing something useful and polite. Just activate your imagination, open your heart, and try to find joy in helping others.
It is the fact that not every day will be perfect. It’s not natural to be like that. The essence is that you make a special day in the bunch of ordinary ones. The fact that such days do not happen on a daily basis makes them notable, doesn’t it?
None of us is able to remember all the days of our lives. But, we won’t forget special ones, right? It takes only a bit of effort to organize those special days which your kid will remember forever. Just make sure to hold as much as possible these special days and rituals. That’s what makes you a good parent.
A child will forget the expensive toy you bought him, but she will always remember the time you spend happily together.