Whether you have one kid, three kids, or you are a Duggar-style 20+ family (hey, you never know!), you know the value in spending one on one time with your kids. I am talking about real, genuine one on one time – no distractions, no sibling battles for attention, no Facebook.
This world we live in is technology driven. We rarely have 5 minutes without distractions. Recently, I started to notice the negative impact that this busy life had on my relationships with my children. It hit me hard when my daughter was asking me to look at her artwork and I was looking up a dinner recipe. I heard my seven year old son say to my five year old daughter:
You have to say “mommy” three times before she hears you
That comment stopped me dead in my tracks. Do my kids really think that I am that ‘unavailable’ when I am in the same room as them? I tried to tell myself that I was on my cell phone doing something for my family – I was looking up a chicken marsala recipe. But no matter what I was looking up, the fact remained that my kids sensed how distracted I was.
There will always be texts messages to reply to, recipes to google, and emails to catch up on. But right then and there I decided I was going to change the way I was spending time with my kids.
Importance of Quality Time
There are a lot of “mom” or parent guilts that flood our minds. Years from now we will forget most of these daily stressors like “Did my Susie eat too much candy yesterday? Did Tommy spend enough time on his homework?”. When your kids are grown, you may even laugh that things like this kept you up at night. However, there is one thing that you will not look back and laugh at. That, my friend, is how much quality time you spent with your kids.
Spending quality time with our kids has a two-fold effect.
- First, it gives them confidence. It shows them they are important and they matter to you. When your children call for you, and you are on your phone or distracted, it is showing them that the phone is more important than what they have to say. Build the foundation that they are amazing little people and they matter.
- Secondly, it makes you feel good! When you spend quality time with your kids, you are both getting to know each other better. You will learn new things about their unique little personalities. You will enjoy being with them, which is what all parents want.
The most important part of all of this is to remove distractions- both physical and mental. Even if it is only for 15 minutes, put your phone away and stop thinking about your mountain of laundry or lack of dinner plans. Really try and focus on your children’s cute expressions and silly comments.
Distraction-free, 1:1 Time
An ultimate form of quality time is one on one time with your children. We have three children, and I feel that giving them individual attention is a very delicate juggling act. A juggling act where I am on a balance beam, resting on a lion’s head, in the middle of a ring of fire. Or in other words, it is nearly impossible.
My husband and I started to have ‘kid-date nights’ with our children. We have them take turns spending an evening with just the two of us. They chose what activity we get to do and the night is all about them. My son chose to go miniature golfing and then eat french fries. My daughter wanted to go to the mall and then get ice cream. We brought the baby to Mcdonald’s (his favorite!)
We only get to do these special nights on occasion, but they talk about them for months afterwards! When we are not able to do these special 1:1 nights, we still make time at home to focus on them. Build legos, paint, play playdoh- there are plenty of things you can do together!
Activity Ideas by Age
Spending quality time with your children does not have to expensive! In fact, you do not even have to leave your house. What matters is that you are removing distractions and focusing on each other. Here are some activities ideas by age that you can do with the entire family!
- Go out to lunch and just talk
- Go miniature golfing
- Go swimming at a pool
- Have a family paint night where you all paint on your own canvas. See the supplies we use below:
- Go to the park and play a sport together
- Go on a nature hike or look for bugs
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Check out these scavenger hunt games!
- Go fishing
- Go on a bike ride together
- Go see a movie or have a family movie night at home
Babies and Toddlers
- Go to the park or for a walk
- Read books
- Play peak-a-boo, hide and seek
- Play a toddler-age board game. Here are some good ones that we play!
- Build with blocks or play-doh
- Play music together
Time to put the QUALITY back into quality time! Quality time does not have to be fancy or expensive, and it does not have to be well-thought out. It does have to be distraction free! Right now, my daughter wants nothing more than for me to sit with her and color. Make your kids feel important, and enjoy them at the same time. Years later, you will not remember the Facebook posts you ‘liked’ or the feeling you have when you laundry is finally caught up- but you WILL remember the moments when you and your children laughed together!
Try one of the above activities with your kids. What activities do you like to do with your children when you have quality time together?
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