Quality time can be hard to find. Between working full-time, managing your home, and balancing all of your other responsibilities, taking time to play with your kids may feel like one more thing on your to-do list. However, maintaining your relationship with your children is one of the most important things you do on a daily basis--and, fortunately, it doesn't have to cost much time, either. In fact, you can squeeze quality time with your kids into some of the things you are already doing, such as:
- Driving in the car. This is something you may do every day, out of necessity. Why not use those ten or fifteen minutes to cultivate some quality time with your kids? Ask them about their day, or about a book they're reading. Remember, too, to be specific when you present questions, so that you get more out of your kids than a noncommittal "nothing" or "ok."
- Eating meals together. Try to eat at least one meal with your kids everyday. If you know that dinnertime won't work out because of your schedules, eat breakfast together. In addition, see if you can occasionally take your kids out for a special breakfast or lunch. The surprise will not only be fun for all of you, but it might also be just the thing to put them at ease and get them to open up a bit more about issues like school, friendships, and more.
- Making dinner. Here's something else that you do everyday. Why not invite your kids to be a part of it? Even toddlers can have fun ripping lettuce for a salad. Turning cooking time into connecting time will not only result in more quality time with your kids, but it will also help you pass on some valuable life lessons, like how to prepare a meal and set the table.
- Doing dishes in the evening. You might be tempted to dismiss your kids from the kitchen while you handle the clean-up duty on your own. When you do that, though, you're missing out on another opportunity for quality time with your kids. If you have more than one child, create a rotating schedule of doing "KP duty" together. In this way, you're not only creating more quality time, but you're also creating one-on-one time with each child.
- Getting ready for bed. Particularly if your children are young, the evening routine offers an ideal quality time opportunity. Teach your children early on that bath time is a fun, upbeat time to laugh and play together. In addition, spend time each evening cuddling and reading a book together. Even older children still enjoy this time, and you may find that it naturally turns into time that your child can ask you questions, share concerns, and open up.