Whatever your household situation, I imagine you have this same goal- to figure out how to spend quality time with your kids. Here’s how we do it!
As a homeschooling, stay-at-home (well, work from home but on my own schedule) mom, a post about spending quality time with your kids when time is limited may come off as not up my alley. But here’s my dirty little secret- quantity of time does not always equal quality.
I am with my kids a lot. And honestly, it’s one of my favorite things about my life choices because I genuinely enjoy my kids (most of the time) and like being around them (most of the time) so I’m grateful to get to do that. However, our time together is still often spent with me directing. Whether it’s teaching a math concept or listing off chores or shuttling them to soccer practice, it’s not minutes or hours I’d qualify as time we spend connecting with each other.
I might even argue that spending so much time together makes it easier for me to forget about the need to focus on quality because every once in a while I realize it’s been too long since I’ve snuggled on the couch or sat down to join them in an art project, rather than rejoicing that they can do it on their own while I tackle laundry.
So I’m working on becoming more intentional with spending quality time with the girls, both all together and one on one, and am creating a system that is helping me implement this goal of mine.
So whether you are in my boat and with your kids a lot, but not always feeling connected to them, or whether your a bustling household often going in separate directions and wanting to maximize the time you do have together, this list of intentional ways to quality time with our kids is for all of us.
These simple tips and ideas help me spend more quality time with my kids when time is limited. I hope they can do the same for you!
- Put your phone away. Have you ever tracked the time you spend on your phone? I have and yikes. It can be pretty eye opening to see how much time we spend on social media and other apps. While I do use my phone for work, I can’t rationalize how Tiktok has any real value beyond guilty pleasure. I started looking at my screen report as a time bank account and choosing to invest an hour or two of that weekly total into my girls as intentional time.
- If you have to, schedule family time on your calendar. I know this may sound silly because after all you’re often going to be with your family. But it’s amazing what a difference it can make when an intentional activity is actually scheduled. For example, we love playing board games together but it’s an easy thing to push off to another time. However, if I mark down 5:30 PM- Ticket to Ride on my Friday calendar square, it’s way more likely to actually happen.
- Pick an activity that they love. I don’t know what took me so long to get this one mastered. Maybe it’s the same as the love languages- we choose what makes us feel love and act that out for the people we love rather than figure out what makes them feel loved. I would plan out activities I wanted until I realized how much more special it is to join in alongside them for the things they love. Hailey loves crafts (I don’t), so joining her in crafting for 20 minutes is more meaningful to her than an hour long walk around the neighborhood.
- Set a timer for chores/ clean up. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of chores. But let’s be honest, the list of to-do items will never really end, so we need to create boundaries around them. Set a timer on your stove, or a visual timer like we have (which is especially great for younger kids!) for getting chores done like picking up the living room or folding clothes. Once the timer is up, leave the rest of what didn’t get done for after the kids go to bed or for the next morning. They’re going to care a lot more about that 15 minutes spent snuggled up and reading with you than having a tidy coffee table.
- Learn when to say no. Confession: we are over-committed right now. We did this by design, so we are riding it out, but it’s also an easy trap to get pulled into because we want our kids to have endless opportunities and access to skilled development. But we can do ourselves a favor and stop over-committing, which will allow for more margin in our lives. I’ve learned that if something isn’t a heck yes, then it’s a heck no. A good way to think of it is like this – by saying yes to a regularly scheduled activity, you’re saying no to quality time you could be spending with your kids.
What are your best tips for how to spend quality time with your kids?
Do you enjoy chatting about parenting as much as I do? Check out these other topics I’ve tackled:
- Handling Differences In Parenting Philosophies
- Eliminating Tantrums: How to Talk About Feelings
- Early Bedtimes: How We Got Them to Stick
- Disciplining Young Kids: How We Handle Tantrums and Crabbiness
- Mom Hacks: Because We Should Mom Smarter, Not Harder