Spending quality time with your kids is arguably one of the most important things you can do to foster a loving, healthy child that continues to have a loving relationship between you.
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With the busy schedules of parents and kids, it can be hard to find the time to spend quality moments together. With sports practice, homework, work and other important events in your lives, you might find that you have little time left to spend doing the fun things with your kids.
Many research studies indicate the importance of quality time spent between kids and parents. For example, The Child Development Institute says that this quality time makes a child feel loved, it gives parents the chance to model good behavior, parents can observe their kids for strengths and weaknesses, families can spend time talking about feelings and other important things and, above all, gives parents and kids the chance to create a great bond between each other.
1. Family Meal Time
One of the top ways that parents can foster a quality relationship with their kids is to have meals together. In fact, this is one of the first things that most experts recommend when families complain about not having enough time together.
Even if you have the meal at a restaurant, the point is being together. Even better, having meals at home is an important way to bond with your kids. Dinner around the kitchen table is the prime opportunity to talk about things and laugh with each other. If you can’t manage dinner, due to a busy schedule, breakfast works just as well.
The point is spending that time together, not what you’re eating or when. If days get really crazy, a snack in the afternoon is also good. Taking your lunch break and having a meal with your kids at school is something that creates wonderful memories.
2. Doing Homework
Helping your kids with their homework is another built-in chance to spend time together. It means a way of learning new things together and lets your child know that you can help them and are there for them.
Sitting down together, even if it’s to do something that isn’t necessarily enjoyable also creates memories that you can share for a lifetime. Experts suggest setting aside a place to do homework and stocking it with everything you need.
That lets you get the work done without having to search for supplies, and it also cuts down on the frustration involved. Chances are that as your kids get older, they will look back with fondness on the time you spent figuring math sums and reading books together.
3. Go For A Family Walk
According to the experts at Parents magazine, a family walk creates the perfect chance to reconnect and spend some quality time with kids. Leave your devices at home and walk around the block or a local park.
Without all the distractions that take time away from being a family, you can focus on your kids and really hear and respond to things they want to share with you. It also gives you another opportunity to bond as you talk about the things you see, such as birds, animals or neighbors.
It might seem like a really small thing, but regular family walks can turn into some of your child’s favorite memories from the growing up years.
4. Institute Family Games Night
Families across the world will tell you that family game night is a great way to spend time together doing something fun. You can try new games each week so that things stay fresh and exciting. Set aside an hour or so, and drag out the board games and challenge each other to a game of Monopoly or Candy Land.
When it’s warm outside, set up an obstacle course in the backyard, or play a game of midnight tag. The key here is blocking out the distractions, so turn off the television and stick the phones on their chargers so that you can each fully pay attention to each other. As your kids get older, you can play more advanced games like poker, cribbage or strategy games.
5. Take Your Kids On A Date
Parents with more than one child will tell you that finding an activity that everyone enjoys can be difficult. Setting aside time to take each child out on their own to do something that they are interested in is good for parent and child. It gives you the chance to foster each child’s passion and learn more about what each of your children loves best.
Maybe you could go to the museum, see a movie, go to the local climbing wall or see a play. Whatever it is, that time spent one-on-one with your children will create memories and a bond that will continue as they get older.
A monthly date is a great idea, but if that’s too hard to manage, once every couple of months is good too. The anticipation and excitement is part of the fun, so make plans together before you go so that you have something to look forward to.
6. Plan A Family Vacation
Sometimes, going away for a few days together is what it takes to shut out the crazy busy world and spend time with your kids. It’s great to take a week or so off and go do something as a family. A beach getaway, a Disney trip or a hiking expedition to the mountains are all fun ideas. Even if you can’t get away for an entire week, an over-nighter is still a good idea.
Rent a cabin in a nearby town or go camping. Even if you just drive an hour or two away and stay in a hotel, the kids will love the new experiences, and you’ll love getting to spend some time away from work and the daily routine back at home.
If your budget is tight, a staycation can also be a fun idea. Explore something near your home that you’ve never seen, or take a tour of your hometown.The point is spending the time doing something new as a family so that you can strengthen your bond and create new memories together.
Quality time doesn’t have to mean hours and hours. Sometimes quantity isn’t better than quality. When you spend quality time together, you and your children are actively engaged with what you’re doing and are focused on one another. That means that sitting next to each other playing on your devices doesn’t really count.
For most families, a healthy balance between quality time and time for pursuing your own interests is the perfect way to make sure your children grow up with a pleasant childhood. It takes a bit of effort to create opportunities for quality time, but it is well worth the effort you put in.