Be present when present 2: How to improve the quality of time spent with your kids
As discussed in the previous post, children are good at showing signs that they are craving more Quality time with Mummy or Daddy. Click here hereto read the previous post if you have not read it yet before continuing with this post.
Cooking with your kids
Of course it is best that you spend quality time with your kids as a matter of fact, however, even if your kids are already showing some of the signs that they need more time with you including those signs mentioned in the previous post or other signs, it is never too late to retrace your steps and make deliberate efforts to improve the quality of the precious time you spend with your kids.
Children grow so fast and now is the time to build those great memories and create a warm enduring bond with your child or children so that the grow up wholesome and psychologically balanced. This is also the time when the foundations of your future relationships with your adult children will be laid.
Even if you are a very busy mum, you can find ways of incorporating your children in your daily activities or having special mummy and me time with them. Below are some ideas of how to get the kids involved in daily activities in a qualitative way.
Cooking with your kids
I let my kids help me when I am cooking - in fact I say we are cooking together. There is nothing kids love more than helping chop up vegetables or storing the pot. I remember a couple of years ago when my then almost 2 year old and my almost 5 year old helped make ratatouille. They were so proud and had loads of fun. It might take you much longer to cook if the kids are helping, but it's rewarding. It's also a way to develop their motor skills.
Reading to and with your kids.
We read to our kids everyday. It's typically at bedtime but we read for about at least 20 to 30 minutes everyday. Reading helps develop your kids vocabulary and expands their imagination. And if they get to cuddle up to mummy and daddy while reading, even better! My husband and I are avid readers and we are really pleased our kids love to read. And we are so proud that our daughter who will be starting class 1 in September can read now, so that is an added perk!
Although I just want to get bath time over and done with sometimes after a full day's work, it makes the kids day when mummy or daddy joins them in the bath tub for bath time. They especially love to wash papa's hair. I don't let anyone near my hair for fear of tangles lol.
One of my daughters greatest wishes is for the family to do a bicycle tour together. It can be a nature hike or a maze or an obstacle course but a family that sweats together stays together.
Our Sunday walks.
Last summer, we took a walk every Sunday around the neighborhood, got some ice cream from our local ice cream parlour and walked back home. The kids loved this and looked forward to it.
Spend time with each kid
Our kids are 3 years apart and sometimes the older child has to play along with what her little brother wants and vice versa. We have had a couple of mummy and me time and daddy and me times which the kids loved. On one occasion I went into the city to shop with my daughter while daddy and little brother slept. Another time, we went to a cafe where I had a hot chocolate and she some warm whipped milk. The boys went food shopping to metro and the little man loved it. Just this last weekend, my husband and my daughter went swimming and I took my son to the local natural history museum to look at some dinosaur bones and a chameleon. He loved it. It is good for kids to have one on one time with each parent sometimes.
Play board games, do puzzles etc
My daughter has a few games she loves to play and it's more interesting for her to play with the adults than her little brother who never plays by the rules. She kicks our butts at memory, it's amazing how I can't remember where the cards are and she's picked everything. I also play ayo with her. Chose the right learning games and its a win win situation
The list of activities is exhaustive, we have picked nuts before, had picnics, visited the zoo, sewn together, baked together, painted and drawn together etc.
A lot of these activities do not require much time and in fact most times all you need to do is involve your kids in your daily chores. That way you will get to know your kids better and they will feel loved. So what if it takes a little bit more time? Invest the time now and you will begin to see changes. Even the kids will start asking you to play with them more.
One of the blogs I follow and find a valuable resource is DIY Corporate Mom she has loads of ideas for play activities and I love her idea of "leave behind play". Like me she is a busy mum and has ingenious ideas to help her keep the bond to her kid alive.
Also check out this article on the Globe and Mail which talks about having fun times with your kids
What are the activities you do with your kids to ensure that you spend quality times with them? Please leave a comment below and share.