School is back in session and the general household routine has kicked in. In today's busy world, work, household chores, and social activities all put a strain on your time with your child. But as you well know, it is quite important that you spend quality time together. This will strengthen the bond between parent and child, and lets your child know you can be trusted and counted on. Children who spend quality time with their parents often do better in school and excel in extracurricular activities, hobbies or sports. Even though it can be 'scheduled' to a degree, it's also something that happens when you least expect it. Therefore it is important that you try and spend as much time as possible with your child in a relaxed atmosphere and do things together that you both enjoy.
But you're asking yourself, "Where am I going to find the time? My schedule is packed enough as it is!" Well, for something as important as your child, you will need to start digging around in that ‘packed’ schedule of yours to find the time. Prioritizing is the key.
We have put together some suggestions on how to make the most of your time with your child and find quality time where you least expect it.
Go through your household chore list and decide which ones can be left undone or be done imperfectly in order to make more family time. It would also not hurt to leave certain things until after your child has gone to bed, in order to make the most of your time together.
Make some of your everyday routines together count. Sing some favorite silly songs on the way to daycare, or use the opportunity to make that drive to and from school a time to discuss what's happening in your child's life and really get his/her thoughts on a number of things. Try to do more listening and prompting, so your child feels he/she is really being heard, as this will make them more forthcoming with their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. It’s also at such times that you get to hear about certain occurrences that probably took place recently or even further back and you wonder why they never said anything then.
If you have more than one child, realize that each of them needs your individual attention. You may really have to juggle things around to make this happen, but try to be flexible and creative when spending time with each of your kids. Try to stick to those individual times with each child – no matter what. In doing so, you’ll be proving to them they're much higher up on the priority list than the dry cleaning or the grocery shopping.
Children thrive on stability and routines, so plan your quality times so that they can take place regularly. Maybe you can walk the dog together on weekend mornings, go shopping together, have a scheduled night each week for a sit-down dinner or movie/ game night together, or make a trip to the park. Whatever you have planned, make it a staple in the family diary/routine and also remember –quality time doesn’t mean spending the world in order to have a good time with your child; it should be about creating a fun situation where your child has your undivided attention.
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