Do you want to discover ways to spend time with your children while also strengthening your bond with them and supporting their personal and social growth? You may accomplish all this and more by spending time with them.
One thing is true for both working and stay-at-home parents: life is hectic. These days, parents often find themselves rushing from one activity to another, with little time for rest in between. We are the ones responsible for maintaining routines, preparing meals, and fixing minor injuries. Furthermore, we are excellent performers, teachers’ aides, homework assistants, and (unofficial) social workers. Also, we must not overlook our primary function as a driver. Taking our kids to their various after-school and weekend activities is a full-time job in and of itself.
Naturally, this results in very little free time for most people. Too much work needs to be done, and not enough time is available. But the turmoil of daily life affects not just us but also our children and the quality of the time we have with them. Studies have shown that spending quality time together has a positive effect on children’s social and emotional development as well as the parent-child bond. So, what are some creative approaches to bonding with young children?
Here are nine ways to spend time with your kids that can help you connect with them on a deeper level and leave them feeling valued, supported, loved, and understood.
1. Regular Check-in
As soon as your children walk through the door after school, you ask them how their day was, and nine times out of ten, you get the standard, “it was nice.” And yet, was it? Spend some time with them to find out how their day went, whether it’s at the dinner table or while you’re tucking them into bed. What did they find to be the most fascinating aspect of their studies? What was for lunch, and did they give anything new a shot? At recess, who did they hang out with? The goal is to use these interactions less as a series of simple questions and more as a springboard for quality time spent talking about your child’s day and the things that matter to him or her.
2. Traditions, such as Washing Up and Going to Sleep
It’s a fact in life that things run more smoothly when you have established habits and rituals. We rely on them to prepare ourselves and our children for the future. Instead of rushing through the last few minutes of the day, you may utilize this time to bond with your kids. Sang a song to your kid while they’re in the tub, whether it’s one of their all-time favorites or something you just discovered.
Turn cleaning your teeth into a fun activity. For example: if your kid is really into space, you can have them imagine they are obliterating asteroids with every stroke. Also, before turning in for the night, read a good story. Let your older child read to you. When you take the time to talk about subjects that are interesting to them, they will feel valued and cared about.
3. Enjoy The Fruits of Your Labor And Acknowledge Your Success
You should hold a party in honor of your children whenever possible. No, we aren’t referring to the few occasions when they get an “A” or win a championship game. Have they taken the plunge and tried something completely new? Did they put in extensive time and effort, as well as plenty of thought? Spending time together at a party to honor their achievements is a terrific way to foster a sense of belonging and encourages good habits.
4. Give Your Children the Freedom to Decide
Giving your underlings the reins of your life is challenging, but their requests for one-on-one time may not be as unreasonable as you think. Inquire as to how your youngster would like to spend time with you. Can they get along well enough to play, color, or make something together? You might play some baseball or have a dance party. Turning control over to them isn’t simply a great way to show them they have agency; it also has the potential to yield some unexpected surprises, like uncovering some previously unknown passions.
5. Don’t Go High Tech
You can’t get away from gadgets in your regular life. Screens are everywhere, from the classroom and workplace to the evening news and unwinding. They’re incredibly important to us and our daily functioning. Yet, meaningful time with a child does not require using any technology. Playing a board game together can bring people closer together. Sports are dynamic and interesting; you can even sing or dance while playing. It’s crucial that you cater to and ignite your kid’s curiosity about the things that fascinate them.
6. Go On a Date
Make plans to spend time with your child during a free period of your day. You may go to the library, picnic at the park, or paint pottery. Memories are made not by the amount of time (or money) spent together, but by the activities you share.
7. Movies and Games with the Family
Introducing your children to the games and television series you enjoyed as a child is a great opportunity to bond with them and have some nostalgic fun together. Several games incorporate mathematical and strategic acumen, making education enjoyable. You and your children will be shocked at how quickly time passes when you’re having fun together watching an old television show or movie, many of which feature stories that will endure for generations and offer vital lessons as well.
8. Create and Prepare Meals Together
The ability to participate in preparing one’s own meals and snacks is sure to win over even the most finicky eaters among today’s youth. Kids are more likely to get creative when they have some say in the matter, and parents may use the time spent in the kitchen to show their kids that their thoughts and feelings are valued in a very tangible way.
9. Enjoy Your Yes Day!
When parents declare a “yes day,” they commit to fulfilling all of their children’s requests for 24 hours straight. Some parents may be frowning and rolling their eyes at the idea, but it won’t be as much of a hassle as you think it will be if you say yes for the whole day. In reality, this is supported by the literature. Professor of developmental psychology Kamala London, Ph.D., has previously said, “studies has found—as far as what contributes to happiness in people and not just children—that saying ‘yes’ gives a sense of control in one’s surroundings, and youngsters frequently don’t have a sense of control.”