I asked my two youngest children, Robert (11) and Alexis (8), what they thought I should write about this month. I asked them what was important to them, what they thought would be good for parents to know. They said “spending time with your kids.” What a great topic.
With the hustle and bustle of life, and especially with getting back to school, homework, athletics, and other activities of the fall, it is not uncommon to get to the end of the day, the week, and the month without having any real quality time with our kids. For many of us, it is even difficult to spend quality time with ourselves, much less another person.
Unfortunately, if we don’t make it happen, it simply doesn’t get done. And, if it doesn’t get done, the loss lasts a long time.
Here are three ways you can easily incorporate relationship-nurturing quality time with your kids:
- Make a list of what activities your kids enjoy.
- Read them the list, and ask them what else needs to be on there.
- Pick something and schedule it! (What on that list can be done today?)
It’s really not that hard. We think it takes hours, days and weeks to make a difference. Not true. It takes consistency and presence (heartfelt, eye-to-eye, devoted, uninterrupted time). It can be done in five minutes, 30 minutes, two hours, or a weekend … it’s the quality that counts.
Here are some ideas to get you started …
- Reading together before bed.
- Horseback riding.
- Riding bikes.
- Helping with your child’s sports team.
- Being a classroom helper.
- Sitting down for a snack together after school.
- Playing a board or card game as a family.
- “Date night” with one child at a time (movies, dinner, etc.).
- Snuggle time.
- Talking under a tree, on a trampoline, on the floor, or somewhere else relaxing and open.
- Playing whatever they want to play in that moment (cars, dolls, imagination cities, etc.)
- Sharing jokes.
- Looking for bugs.
What’s on your list?
Utilize this time to talk about whatever your child wants to talk about. Listen. Listen. Listen. Be present. Put everything else out of your mind. This opportunity will not be here forever. If you develop trust, open communication, and connection now, no matter how old your child is, these “deposits” will last a lifetime and will reap rewards beyond your imagination.
Remember, consistency and presence. Do not be interrupted by cell phones, other people, work or anything else during this time. What is more important than your child feeling loved and important to you? What you do (or don’t do) during this “quality time date” with your child will answer that question in their mind. Be sure you are sending them the answer that is in your heart.
Have fun playing with your kids! You may find that you enjoy being a kid again.
To contact Traci directly: email@example.com or 951-240-1407.