I recently recieved an email from a reader who asked me to help her find some quality time with her kids. She said that she is so busy and she is struggling to find time in her day to carve out for each child. She feels overwhelmed and like a bad mother because she isn’t spending a lot of extra one on one time with each of her children every day.
Oh, man do I understand how it feels to be overwhelmed and pulled in a thousand directions. Finding that good one on one time with each of your children can be hard.
Remember, it’s about…
Quality Time not Quantity of Time
There are times in my life where I just can’t find that extra hour in my day to sit and play with each of my children.
So, I look for snipits of time.
- In the car: I have found that uninterrupted car time is the perfect time to connect with kids. This is true for toddlers up to teenagers. Turn off the music, get off the phone, and talk to your kids. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with kids has been in the car.
- At bedtime: I try to spend a few extra minutes in the evening lying in bed with my son just talking. I try not to rush the bedtime routine (even though I really want to some nights) and take that time to slow down and connect. This is especially important for me after a hard day.
- At mealtimes: I try very hard to eat every meal with my kids. I put away my phone and sit at the table with them and talk. Now, I know this can be hard to do when you are super busy, but try to find the time for family meals. Even if it’s once a week. But if you just can’t, even eating together at a fast food restaurant can be good quality family time too.
- During chores: Have them help you fold laundry or do the dishes. Menial work like that can really be a great time for good conversation. You can both sit and chat while accomplishing something.
The small snipits of quality time are just everyday activities and are pretty easy to incorporate into your daily life. But, there are times when you’ll need to spend more time than just a few minutes here and there.
How to Find Chunks of Time
There will be times when you want to, or need to, spend some special time with your child. The more children you have, the harder this gets. But here are a few tips on how to find those big chunks of time.
- Use Outside Resources: I send my oldest child to Preschool twice a week for a few hours. My toddler isn’t ready to go yet, so I use that time to connect with him. Some other outside sources: hire a mother’s helper, ask family, trade off babysitting with friends.
- Trade with your spouse: My husband and I will often take one child. We have two kids, so he spends time with one in the morning while I spend time with the other. Then we switch in the afternoon. It’s great because it gives us some special time all on our own with each child.
- Nap Time: If you have one child who naps and one who doesn’t, this is the perfect time to connect with the non-napping child. Instead of doing chores, spend a few minutes connecting.
- After Bedtime: Allison at Pint-Sized Treasures found the perfect way to have quality time with each of her children…and she’s got 6!
Many of these tips work great for me and my family, so I hope that they work well for you too.
As always, I’m looking to improve, so tell me…do you have other ways you find time for your kids?
Love this. The snippets are still special, too 🙂
Thank you! The snipits are my favorite parts of my day 🙂
Thanks for reminding me its not about the quantity but the quality that matters. Reading bedtime books is a special sacred time for me with the kids. Probably the only time during the working week that I stop and be still and be present.
You’re welcome. Bedtime is one of my favorite times of day too.
My kids have late start Fridays at their school so I make a pancake breakfast for them. We ‘ve done it almost every Friday now for 2 years. It’s hard to find time to just sit and talk.
Thank you so much for these great reminders, Amanda. I want to be more intentional about developing relationships with my family this year. I am blessed to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, so I get to spend lots of time with my kids, but (Confession) this is often time spent as a “teacher” (i.e. – drill sergeant) and not a mom. I am trying to find ways to incorporate the kids into other times of my day when I can connect with them as “mom”. One of my thoughts is having the kids take turns each night making dinner with me. They are old enough to learn to cook, and we can spend some one-on-one time together – a “win-win” situation. Thanks so much for your encouraging article on this topic. I love all of your suggestions.
I have 4 children and found it to divide time and give everyone a turn so I developed a weekly system. Each child has 1 day of every week that is their special day. It started when they were preschoolers. So for instance on Monday it is Jack’s day. He gets to help me with any chores, push buttons in an elevator (that’s a favorite one), choose what to listen to on the radio, etc. They are big kids now and we still use this method. It is simple and it’s been a life saver.