As working parents, we have all had times when the endless responsibilities of daily life have gotten in the way of spending quality time with our children. Rather than feeling guilty, parents can use some of these ideas to make the most of the time we have to spend with our kids.
Make your children feel as important as the items on your to-do list by taking breaks to spend with them. Set a timer and put your work aside for fifteen minutes or half an hour. Let your children decide how you spend your break time: it could be something as simple as reading a story or playing make-believe for a little while. Keep taking breaks as you go and create a positive sense of anticipation for your child. This also models good time management skills for your children.
Some parents hesitate to get into pretend play with their children. It’s important to children’s development to use their imaginations, and it can be a lot of fun to enter your child’s make-believe world and experience things through their eyes. Let your child direct the game and try not to steer it in one direction or another.
Pretend play also helps to develop social skills and language skills. While pretending, your child can try on different roles and see the world in a different way. For example, if your child is pretending to be a parent, he or she might think about a parent’s responsibilities in caring for their dolls.
Make Learning Fun
Children are endlessly curious and love to direct their own learning. When parents model their love of learning for their children, this empowers the children to explore more and take more risks.
Another way to spend quality time with your child is to incorporate educational games into your playtime. There are dozens of web sites with fun and enriching games for your child. Games can help a child learn to enjoy and understand maths and many other subjects. Many children enjoy working to “beat” a game, and this is a great motivator to learn new skills.
Your Child’s Special Day
Every child thrives on one-on-one time with a parent. Especially if you have more than one child, it is a great idea to set aside one day a month as your child’s “special day.” Block out the day for your child and do activities he or she enjoys. These don’t have to be elaborate or expensive – a trip to the library and a picnic lunch is as much fun for your child as a trip to a museum or zoo. Your child will love having you all to himself or herself and not having to compete with a sibling or with other activities for your attention.
Learn a New Skill Together
A great way to bond with your child is by learning a new skill together. Whether it’s painting, fishing, or a sport, learning together is fun and enriching. The new skill doesn’t have to be perfected – your child will learn just as much if not more from watching how you handle mistakes or unexpected problems. Learning a new skill together makes a special memory for you and your child.
Make the Most of your Time
As parents, we often have to figure out how to balance our responsibilities to work, home, and to our children. Our one-on-one time with our children can be limited. Learning to work in quality time with your children will make everyone in the household happier and more content. It doesn’t have to take much time out of a parent’s day, but the rewards are endless.