Today’s family has become a family that is almost always pressed for time. With both parents who are working and managing a house at the same time and children who are stressed with school and extra classes, it is not a wonder that there may be big pockets in the day when you don’t see one another. Then you look at your weekend schedule and find out that you have a host of social obligations to fulfil. It is for this reason why it is even more important to ‘steal’ time here and there and spend quality time with your children so that they are always guided by you and the values you want to impart to them. Here are some ways in which you can spend a great deal of time with your children without having to take out too much time.
#1. Take your children with you when you are running errands; whether to the supermarket, bookstore or laundry. Not only will they know and appreciate the amount of work you do, you will also get to connect with them on a different level when on these trips. My kids and I talk a lot about school, friends and values in life when we are on these drives. When we drive to and from classes, we sometimes steal a short break at a coffee shop and down a doughnut and we are able to catch up a lot more about each other’s lives. I remember the times my mum and I did this when I was a child and I also know these are the moments my kids and I will both cherish in the years to come.
#2. Put aside a time a week for each of your children. These times need not be long if you cannot afford it but it should be a time only between you and a child of yours. Plan what you will do on this date; be it watch a movie, go bowling or go window shopping – do something fun where your child has your undivided attention. You will see that it is during these times that your child will share many things with you that he or she may not normally share with you. Blame it on the rush of the day’s events, kids just like adults are able to talk more when they unwind.
#3. Eat at least one meal a day together. Breakfast is often a chaotic time, so pick a meal when your schedules allow you to eat together. A family that eats together, stays together. Mealtimes are a great time when a whole family is able to interact and this is a healthy way to show your children togetherness.
#4. Take a walk with your children regularly. If you can take out even 15 minutes every evening, go on and take a walk around the neighbourhood with your kids. This ‘free’ free time is amazing because you get to catch up with one another, get positive energy into your bodies thanks to exercise and also feel fresh breathing some fresh air outdoors when most of our days consist on being cooped up indoors with artificial air.
#5. Cook together. Schedule some days when your child is a little free where he or she can help you cook dinner. Children bond very well with parents when they spend time in the kitchen together. There is just something truly special about this. I still remember how I used to make the pancake batter for breakfast on weekends and was allowed to even make my own pancake. My kids and I bake cakes and cookies together and we always have a great time connecting over this simple activity.
We will always have reasons to be busy in our lives. So will our kids. With our stressful lives where we wear many different hats, life will never become easier or simpler unless we move to a village far away. Always remember this one line I read somewhere recently, “there are only 936 weekends from the time your child is born till he or she goes off to university” – how do you want to spend these weeks and weekends?