Hi! I am hoping to share some of my favourite activities to INDULGE in with my children on a daily basis, (and heres my favourite part) without any screen time! We all read on various pages how children will remember if we were present and not the presents we bought, and many other statements with the same messages reminding us parents how spending quality time with children is probably the most important role of the parenting process. I often come across people struggling to find time (between full time work and other commitments), energy or motivation to undertake this. I also see some parents spending all of their waking hour with their children and I wonder what is the price they pay for doing that as well. I mean, somethings gotta give! Yes, there is no such thing as a perfect balance, but if undertaken mindfully, a little QUALITY time goes a long way. And that way your personal time, household chores, time with your partner etc doesn’t get put on the back burner. Each family has their own methods of bonding and they usually work for the household. But with my list, I am hoping to shed some light on how these everyday activities serve more than one purpose, the main one being spending time with your children of course. So heres some of the pre-requisites:
- Timing – The timing of when you decide to spend this time with your children is an extremely important factor. You want to pick a time when you have almost no other commitment or issue to attend to. It should also be a time when your children aren’t overly tired and have missed you enough to crave your time and attention. For my household, it is just a few minutes after dinner and before bath and bed time. I spend a few quick minutes after dinner packing up the kitchen if need be and the two of them do their own thing, leaving me alone, knowing that 5:45pm is when they can claim me 🙂
- Remove the distractions- For you and them. Yes, it means the technology in most cases! Stay away from the messiest room in the house if you are more inclined to clean up after 2 minutes of being with your children. Put your phone in the bedside drawer or in the car in the garage if you have to lol. Its only a matter of few minutes before you can check Facebook again, ask people to call on the home phone if there is an emergency and tell your partner/family etc that you will be unavailable for these 30 or 60 minutes everyday from now on.
- Announce your intent- Kids never forget! Atleast mine don’t. So if you tell them its your family time from 6-7 everyday for example, they will remind you. My son (6) can’t tell time well but he knows to come and get me at 5:45 coz that is the time I have promised to be with them on a daily basis. So if you say it out loud, then more chances of you following through and it gives the children something to look forward to.
- Give them a choice – Once you form a list of activities you would like to do together, give your children a choice in the matter. Let them pick what they would like to do and how they would like to spend time with you. The ability to make a choice fosters a lot of confidence in children.
- Set boundaries – Tell them that though they have a choice in the matter, they still have to take turns in picking the activities, or divide the time in half for two kids (using a timer to be fair) and that everyone present in the house takes part in the activities together. I also find it important to remind them (every single day, coz its easier to remind than nag after) that we have to work together as a team to pack things up/ put things away.
- Just do it – Don’t wait for the first of the month or for the first day of the week to start this daily routine with your children. Spend a day (if that) in planning and discussing the limited details with your children, and then put it into practice. Don’t use it as a reward or a bribe and don’t avoid the activity as a consequence for a bad behaviour. Do it regardless of how you feel or where your relationship with your children stands at the time. Think of it as a daily ritual that will help you improve or manage your life – like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast!
I would try one week (5-7 days) of one activity and add new activities every few days while finding out for yourself what works best for your crew. All my 5 related posts will be published every Monday starting the 1st of February 🙂
Good luck ! I would love to hear your views and inputs!
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