In today’s fast-paced world, we all grapple with an elusive commodity – time. And this is especially true in the case of working parents. Juggling with life responsibilities, it is normal to feel pressed for time. As a parent or guardian, do you feel guilty for not being able to spend enough time with your little one? Do social media posts from parents who stay at home or have freelance jobs make you feel guilty? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, do not despair. Studies have found that it is the quality of time rather than quantity that truly matters. Children essentially need meaningful time with their parents and caregivers to have a beneficial impact as they grow. So, it is not really about the endless span of time but how you choose to spend the minutes that affects your child’s development, happiness and overall well-being.
Here are some ways of spending high-quality time with your child even when you don’t seem to have enough minutes:
- Make an Inclusive Morning Routine
Set your alarm a little earlier. Add 10–15 minutes to your routine that is devoted to your child. Perhaps you can do free-hand exercises together to start the day. You might also discuss the day ahead or plan meals and snacks together. Consider including them in the process of making breakfast. These extra minutes of spending time with your child can make a significant difference in their lives.
2. One-on-One Time
It is important for every child to have a one-on-time with their parent now and then. This does not have to be an all-day event. Try sharing a read-aloud book, learning something together or establishing regular outings. Even spending 15 minutes of storytelling time while your other child is with your spouse or napping can help a child feel special. Fixing your dates for spending one-on-one time and marking them on a calendar will show your children that you make them a priority.
3. Join in Their Play
Children love to play pretend games such as a doctor, teacher or doll’s house. Let your hair down and join them. Help build that palace with building blocks or explore what you can do with a thermocol box. Invest yourself in the time you spend together and show how happy you are to join in the play. If you are usually the serious and reserved parent, it would be a treat for your child to watch you get silly.
4. Take Random Pictures Together
Clicking selfies together randomly can often be fun and hilarious. Try making funny faces. You’re likely to end up laughing, giggling and bonding at a much deeper level. You could save the photos to make a collage or video compilation at the end of the year. A great way to record your precious time together!
5. Do Chores Together
Take the time to do something with your child that you generally do on your own. That will really show how much you enjoy spending time together. For example, include them when you go for errands, do your cooking or lay the table. Though the task might be easier to do by yourself, engaging in it with your little one will ensure that they get special time with you and learn useful skills too.
6. Go for Walks
Consider taking your child for walks or strolls in the neighbourhood. You could do this in the morning, evening or during weekends. Apart from enjoying nature, this will give your dear one the time to talk about their day and bond with you in a relaxed way.
7. Engage in Leisurely Activities
A great way to spend quality time with kids is by engaging in relaxing activities such as watching a movie together, flying kites, playing Dumb Charades or painting one another’s nails. Like adults, children experience stress too and indulging in the above activities will help them unwind effectively. Both of you can bask in the moment and let go of any feelings of confusion, frustration or anger.
8. Making Up for the Physical Absence
If you find yourself scrunched for time and not able to be physically present for your child always, there is still a solution. Consider writing and pasting notes on their desk at home or in their lunch box. For example, if you return home quite some time after your child gets back from school, pen the words “Love you lots! Can’t wait to have dinner together when I get back home.” Similarly, if there is a test on a particular day, scribble a note wishing them luck atop their lunch box. Gestures like these show that you care. Make sure you are creative here.
Spending quality time with your children provides them the scope to be heard and feel wanted. That makes way for you to connect and it is these connections that create great bonding. Find a way to make the most of every moment have with your children. Not only will you be a wonderful parent, but you will also teach them to be good adults and great parents someday. Remember that the time spent together is of memories, for which you will be thankful when you look back.