Everyone tells you that time flies by when you have kids. It’s important to make the most out of the little time you have with young kids and savour the moments because boy do they ever go by quickly.
Motherhood brings out the daily hustle and bustle that can get so exhausting, even the thought of binging shows on Netflix past 9pm sometimes feel like an impossible feat. After hours of driving kids from activity to activity, loads of laundry, meal times, and every other task that mothers endure, quality time could feel out of reach.
Between all the different types of parenting styles we choose to raise our kids with, the one thing they all have in common is; Your kids need to spend quality time with you. Children need to be able to see who you are as a person and not just as their parent who makes their life go around and around.
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Benefits Of Spending Time With Your Child
Kids spend a lot of time in daycare, at friends homes, at school, sleeping, and even camp. Kids spend a lot of time without you!
This makes the time that they have with you that much more precious. According to my calculations, there are about 930 Saturdays between your child’s birth and the time they go away to post-secondary school. By the time your child is 5, over 200 of those Saturdays have already passed.
When your kids get older, they will spend even fewer Saturdays at home, and before you know it, you might get a phone call once a week when they are off learning and living their new adventures.
As scary as that sounds, the lack of time we have with our kids before they leave us (wahhh! ) we need to focus on turning that time into memorable moments.
Sometimes though, we take that available Saturday and schedule a family trip to the zoo. While that can certainly strike memories and warrant a good time, memorable moments do not need to be so elaborate. You can create a simple memorable moment on your drive home from school one day.
You can create memories simply sitting in the backyard, sharing cuddles on a blanket on a warm summer day too. By the way, did you know the dishes and laundry CAN wait a few hours? Sometimes I have to remind myself that when my kids ask me to take them to a park and I have a mountain of housework to do. I usually chose the park!
Ways to Spend Quality Time with Your Child
Take A Walk
Walking is such a simple thing to do with your kids and it has so many added benefits too! Get physically active and go on an adventure around your neighbourhood, or drive over to a park after supper. walking is fun and interesting. You get to notice things about your neighbourhood and notice familiar neighbours too.
Walking also improved their concentration and could make them more calm and happy, perfect for just before bedtime! If you let your children navigate the walk, which promotes independence and gives them freedom. They can stop and look at flowers and jump in puddles if they please which is not something easily done on a car ride.
Not to mention the health benefits of walking too. Walking helps keep your kids healthy in mind and body which helps boost mood and self-esteem as well. If you can bring a friend or a sibling along for your walk, the whole journey will be that much more fun and you’ll make some silly memories along the way.
Along with creating amazing memories, baking with children teaches them so many skills. The cool thing about letting them cook or bake with you is you are the one that teaches them these skills at the end of the day and that’s always something to be proud of.
Baking with children allows them to gain some basic kitchen skills that could help them later on in adult life. Using simple math to put together cake mix or counting all the eggs that are needed for the recipe is an engaging activity that promotes learning the fun way. If you’re reading a recipe together, you promote the learning of new words and sharpening reading skills too.
If your kids are picky eaters, having them help you in the kitchen is a huge bonus. If your child prepares a meal with you, she is more likely to eat it because she helped prepare it and is proud of her work.
Along with all the literacy and math skills that you will be presenting to your child while creating precious memories, you’ll also hit the sensory needs as well. Who doesn’t like mixing dough with their hands?! It’s the best part…
No, I’m sorry, licking the spoon is the BEST part if you’re making a nice dessert. My favourite picture of my child when he was just 2 years old is him covered in flour with a bowl on his head and a face covered in chocolate after we finished baking a chocolate zucchini bread.
Eat As A Family
Family dinners should be a regular thing. This is a great time to reflect on your day and catch up with each other.
Ask your kids to help with the preparing of the family meal, or at the very least help set the table. Let them grab the condiments from the fridge and bring the drinks up to the table without your help. This will make them feel needed and important. This feeling of involvement helps provide a feeling of safety and security, leading to growing confidence as well.
All of these little things build-up to the big memories. Your kids will remember family meals as a regular thing and implement it in their own lives in adulthood.
It can be difficult to eat together on a daily basis, but if you can, try to make it as regular as possible.
Talk At Bedtime
If your children will tolerate it, see if you can connect with your kids before bedtime. Tucking kids in, no matter how big they are, never gets old (for mom and dad anyway).
This kind of pillow talk is essential. According to this source, children open up their deepest feelings and ask their deepest questions just before they transition into their sleep. This is because they are now in their most relaxed state and they feel safe and ready to let go of the day and drift off into the night. What an amazing opportunity to connect on a deeper level!
It is so easy to just say goodnight to our kids and shut the door as we go onto our much anticipated quiet evening, but that moment that is presented to you once a day is not one that I recommend passing up. Instead of shutting the door with you on the outside, shut the door with you on the inside. Calmy connect with your little one and let the conversation flow. It’s truly magical.
Jokes are always good fun! Laughter is music to parent’s ears. While it’s true, children’s jokes are generally not that funny..but that’s not really the point.
Encouraging that kind of laughter and creating these silly jokes that make no sense what so ever are fabulous memory-making moments. I always make a point of laughing along with my children when they say something absurd! I have boys, and if one of them says something like “farty poopy” the other one starts to howl like a hyena.
I’ll never understand children’s humour but I do know that there is nothing more pleasant to my ears than hearing my kids howl with laughter. It gets even funnier when they repeat the same joke days later, and laugh about it for an hour all over again.
Sometimes I’ll go to Pinterest and look up some jokes to use on my kids, but they always fall flat, maybe I’m saying them wrong or maybe nothing is funnier than “farty poopy” (my kids are 3 and 5)…
As I said, I’ll never understand it, but I know it’s important to encourage jokes and laughter!
Wash The Car Together
Get out the soap and bucket and go to town washing the family car. Spend a few hours on a hot summer day and enjoy splashing water and soap all over the place.
While this seems like a nightmare messy situation, don’t sweat it! It’s all outside anyway and nothing a good hosing down can’t fix. Getting the kids involved in something like washing the family car can bring everyone closer together.
The kids will always remember Saturdays in the summer when they washed the car with Dad and how much fun that always was.
By the way, this activity is not for having a perfectly washed car. In fact, you’ll likely need to go run it through an automatic carwash afterwards but that’s not the point. The point is the activity, the togetherness and the fun.
Creating memories with simple activities is possible.
Clean Up Together
Have you ever walked past your child’s room and noticed how messy it was? I bet you yelled ” I thought I told you to clean this mess up!” more than a few times. But what if I told you that saying something like “Hey buddy, your room is getting messy, would you like to clean it up together?” will transform the negative task of room cleaning into an adventure.
While you clean up together you’ll come across items that spark conversations and memories too. Enjoy these moments.
I mean, you were probably going to clean that room for them anyway (depending on age), so why not turn that CHORE into something pleasant.
Think about the value you bring to the situation? when you help your child clean their room sparks their memories for later in life when they have children and need their children to clean up their rooms. Spreading the positive parenting message through helping rather than yelling at the situation gets passed down from generation to generation. Stop the yelling cycle and create strong bonds and memories instead.
Sit Outside Together
Grab a blanket and our favourite snacks and drinks and sit outside. The calm of being outdoors can spark some magical moments. Breathing in the fresh air and chatting about anything that pops up can create some really special moments that are hard to forget. If you can, make an outside tent, or grab some chairs and sit around a campfire too.
Some of my best memories involve a campfire. There’s something really magical about a simple backyard campfire where you can roast marshmallows and eat way too many smores.
Laugh together as you watch marshmallows catch fire and children become sticky marshmallow monsters. “sigh” the memories.
Have Family Game Night
Enjoying a game of mousetrap or monopoly should be a weekend ordeal. Family games teach so many lessons, bring out the best smiles and really bring family members closer together.
Do you get the same satisfaction and the fun when you play a game on your iPad as you would play with your family? I mean come on, nothing beats a toddler smile when they’re having fun! Fun games like PieFace and Toilet Trouble are sure to spark laughter and excitement.
Kick family game night up a notch and invite the extended family in too!
Play Their Games
If you have video games in your home, learn how to play them! It’s great for kids to see their parents enjoying something they like. If you ignore their passion (even if its video games) you might give them the impression that what they like is “stupid” and we never want our children to feel this way.
My child is obsessed with Mario and Luigi games right now. I don’t know much about it other than the fact I played Nintendo 64 once upon a time and my favourite character was Yoshi.
I have to make a real effort to connect with my little one about his love for Mario and the adventures he has on the Nintendo DS. Honestly, the subject makes my eyes roll back and it’s not an exciting or enjoyable conversation AT ALL.
But I know that this is important to my son and therefore I do make every effort possible to play the game myself and talk to him about the cool things I noticed in the game. He loves watching me lose..it’s one of his favourite things…
I bet he will always remember how terrible his mom was at playing his Mario games.
Related: The Things That Kids Remember
Read some books with your kids. Whether they are their favourite novels or toddlers picture books, it is important to read together. Have them read to you if they are just learning how!
Even if time is not on your side on a daily basis, make it a part of the bedtime routine to read books and connect. It’s a really simple act, but this kind of time is absolutely considered quality time. Read the stories and talk about what they mean and what kind of lessons were discussed too. These are such great and impactful connections that you can make with your kids, and it doesn’t take a lot of time at all.
Check out this collection of awesome books for early readers.
Be the crazy parent who shocks their kids with a random, crazy fun pillow fight. You’ll talk about that one for ages- until the next one.
While this may seem like a wild time, it is also considered quality time. I’m all about the silly moments, can’t you tell?! Although not recommended right before bedtime on a school night because you’ll never get your kids to sleep, this IS still a super fun way to create these quality connections.
Creating these kinds of moments and memories, even with a busy lifestyle, can help create an amazing and happy childhood for your children. The quality time doesn’t have to be made up of grand gestures and elaborate situations. As you can see from my list of ideas the simple things are the best things at creating those strong bonds with your kids.
Honestly, I tend to spend most of my quality time with my kids at bedtime and on the weekends even though I am a stay at home mom. Life is just so busy and it can be tough to find the moments to truly connect. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t find the moments. I just fit them into little pockets of time and that makes them even more special.
We all want happiness for our kids, and it comes from loving parents who take the time to spend quality time with their kids.