As the back-to-school roller coaster begins, it can be easy to get off track when it comes to spending time with your kids. There’s homework to be done, extracurricular activities to be driven to, and new clothes to pick out.
It is important, even in the busiest times of life, to spend quality time with your little ones. So, here are few ways that you can put the “we” back in weekend and make memories that will last through those over-scheduled days.
Parent and Child Journals
My daughter and I just began doing this, and it is a great way to communicate even when you’re not together. Every night I write a message in a notebook we share. It can be anything from “I love you” to a self-esteem booster like “You’re so brave” to sketches and drawings. When I’m finished writing in the journal, I hide it somewhere in her room. When she finds the hidden journal, she’ll write a message back and hide it in my room. She has really loved having something special just between us.
Still Playing School has some great ideas on how to use these journals not only to connect, but also to allow your child to practice their reading and writing skills.
While it can be tempting to shoo the children out of the kitchen during meal prep (I am guilty of this), teaching your children the basics of creating a meal can not only be a great way to bond, but is also a great life skill. You can start with stirring and pouring in ingredients, and graduate to chopping, scrambling and flipping.
Momables has some great kid-friendly recipes that are organized by age. So, whether you have a five-year-old or a 15-year-old, there is something for every skill level.
In the midst of busy schedules and the school shuffle, it’s easy to tune out. But children crave our attention and approval, and when we separate ourselves from them with a wandering mind or an electronic device, it can be damaging to good communication.
So, try taking five minutes at bedtime, or another time when you’re alone with your child, and really listen to what they have to say. This is especially important when your child seems sad, frustrated or angry. The Idealist Mom has a list of what she calls “Miracle Phrases” that will help you find out what your child is thinking and feeling. Some of them include, “Tell me how you’re feeling,” or “I still love you, even when you’re angry.”
Finding quality time with your children in a fast-paced world can be difficult, but any effort you put in will be given back to you tenfold.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of two energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys running around with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects and home decor.