A wise man once said: “Too much love never spoils children. Children become spoiled when we substitute “presents” for “presence.” And there’s no better way to show love than to spend as much time as you can with your kids.
Okay, I get it. You have to work or attend to chores that are almost impossible to finish (laundry, grocery, pay bills, and the list goes on).
It’s fine. Nothing to worry about as long as you spend quality time with your child, and that means more than just being around. After all, they don’t grow any younger. You’ll barely notice that your 5-month-old baby has turned into a 5-year-old child and sooner, into a 15-year-old teen.
With every milestone and challenge, it’s hard to juggle everything else and it stops us from fully admiring the true beauty of parenting.
It doesn’t matter what kind of parent you are -- authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved -- your kids need you to know you and that means spending time with them so they get to know who you really are.
So, how do you do this? How do you take advantage of this precious time -- the time when the carpet’s always full of breadcrumbs, the endless breastfeeding sessions, and the highly-energetic yet enthusiastic little ones themselves.
It might be challenging but I hope these simple tips to spend more quality time with your child will help:
Take A Stroll Before Bedtime
Instead of consuming your family time watching TV or YouTube, how about you go out in pajamas. As long as the weather permits, walk hand-in-hand with your little one in the neighborhood and just make the most out of this special moment. If that doesn’t convince you yet, this is a perfect activity to get your kid ready for bed.
Have A Themed Night
Tacos -- who doesn’t love them? If not, it can be Chinese night, pizza night, pancake night, or whatever-you-have-in-your-mind night. Once a week, do a themed night with your kids to make dinner more fun and exciting. This will also help you get to know each other. Drop the phone and just have a real conversation.
Pro Tip: Get your kids involved even before eating. Let them help you cook or prepare the ingredients or think of the themes you’ll have in the coming weeks. This will not only help them feel that they play a part for your family but also, it’s something that they’ll look forward to all week!
Practice Parenting Meditation
When you’re overwhelmed with thoughts -- work, bills, etc., it’s easy for your mind to wander around instead of focusing on your child. Although you’re physically present with them, you are wasting your time thinking of other things.
Same as how a usual meditation work, just put your entire attention to the tiny human you have created -- hear them, see them, and just be present with them.
Do Home Improvements With Them
Whether it’s putting a new light bulb, fixing a leaky faucet, or painting the patio, always involve your kids. It doesn’t mean that they should be the one doing it rather, just include them by telling how each tool works and how to set it up. You can also ask them to hold the flashlight and let you watch while you talk about how it works.
Sooner or later, you might see the roles changing -- you, holding the flashlight and them, doing the repairs.
Walking Instead Of Driving
Being convenient is so convenient nowadays. There are cars and Ubers but if you want to slow things down (and that's what you want in the first place), walk with your kids. If the daycare, park, or school is just in the neighborhood, ditch your car and stroll with your kid instead. Hold their hands while they're still fine with it and talk about anything -- your interest, their interest, your favorite color, their favorite color, etc.
And instead of going back home and fetching them again, why not bring a book and find a spot where you can wait for them. Rather than spending an hour or two at home, you'll thank yourself for spending it in a park, coffee shop, or under a tree.
Play The Video Games With Them
Okay, as much as we wanted to eliminate technology and virtual reality, it won't hurt to play video games with your kids from time to time. This way, they'll see another side of you -- the competitive, vincible human. It's a good break from being a parent while still, strengthening your relationship with them.
Also, it's a fun way to bond. Just be sure to limit virtual reality as this may overcome reality.
Spending time with your kids doesn’t require money. Sometimes, it’s best to just stay at home or take advantage of the park or the neighborhood. It doesn’t need to be fancy as long as you are putting yourself in the present moment with them. Also, it would be good to start the year prioritizing the real priority -- your kids.