Long working hours, hectic school schedules, and a never-ending stream of chores can put a major crimp on your ability to spend quality time together with your kids. That might be why more than half of all surveyed parents of school-aged children are always on the look-out for things to do together as a family.
It’s not always possible to optimize the time-ratio between life responsibilities and family time. Few of us can afford to slash work hours or eliminate long commutes and start working out of a home office.
A lot of parents worry that they don't fit in enough quality time with the kids. But the fact is, no one can control time. Once you let go of the notion that you’re always in control of the clock, it becomes a lot less stressful to fit in quality family time around other work and life responsibilities.
Quality family time is crucial to raising happy, well-adjusted kids. Time spent with children now, when they’re young, lays a strong foundation for how they will relate to the world as adults. How can you engineer your life to find more quality time to spend with your kids, without fretting and stressing out over it?
At RoosterFin Games, we make it a priority to help parents and caregivers like you find new fun and creative ways to bond with your kids. Below, we’ve put together 5 quick ways you can find more quality family time, starting today
We are surrounded by digital devices, constantly beeping, pinging, and lighting up and demanding our attention RIGHT NOW. It can be so hard in the age of smartphones and iOS devices to just be present with our loved ones during family time.
What does being present mean? It means your focus, attention, your thoughts, and your feelings are all fixed on one task at a time.
When you’re present and talking to someone, then your energy and attention are focused on what they are saying. Human beings are social creatures, and your children can pick up on whether or not you're present with them. Think about it:
Would you be staring at your phone, scrolling through emails while your boss talks to you? Would you shoot off a quick text to a friend while a customer asks you a question?
If you want to keep your job, probably not. The same principle applies to your kids. They can tell when their parents are distracted.
What kind of silent, but powerful message are you sending to your kids if you’re checking the phone or scrolling through Fakebook while they are talking to you? It’s not a good one.
Making the conscious switch to be more present is a simple and quick way to show your children that you care about what they have to say and their perspectives are valuable
2. Forget About Perfection
A lot of parents can get caught up in the trap of wanting everything to be perfect, at the expense of quality family time. The laundry doesn’t all have to be washed and folded, and the dishes don’t all need to be put away before you can engage in activities that you and the kids will enjoy. Chores will always be there, but your children won’t.
3. Show that you’re with your kids, even when you aren’t physically beside them.
When I was in grade school, most of us packed our lunches. One day while sitting at the lunch table next to my friend, she opened her lunch box, and her napkin fell out. There was a note written on the napkin. I asked my friend what it was and she smiled a little bashfully before shoving the napkin under her sandwich. “Oh, it’s just a note my mom wrote me. She writes them every day.”
My mother showed me that she cared in other ways, but I remember being a little bit jealous of my friend’s lunchbox notes. Of course, I would never admit it. That would have been uncool.
Even when you aren’t with your kids, you can still show them little ways that you care and are present with them. Sending them notes, or if they are older, quick texts during the day that don’t necessarily have a purpose other than to let them know that you’re thinking about them can go a long way to giving your kids a sense of security. Even if they won’t admit it because it’s uncool.
"Mom, you're embarrassing me."
4. Prioritize the Big Things
Weekdays can be a whirlwind, and the majority of parents have the most time to devote to family activities on the weekends. If you’re crunched for time except on a Saturday evening, ask your kids what they want to do together beforehand. Prioritizing a big activity with them that they choose sends a strong message of love and support, even if the rest of the week prevents you from spending much time together.
5. Find Out Why
This might be the biggest understatement of the year, but parenting is hard. Once you have kids, time seems to move at a breakneck pace. Sometimes, people make decisions and do things without really thinking about why they are doing them beaus they don’t have the time or the mental energy to think things through. A lot of parents get caught up in making knee-jerk choices based on fear, and not necessarily love.
Are you obsessed about having a clean house because you fear judgment from extended family? Are you putting in extra hours at work because you’re afraid of what people will think if you don’t?
Decisions like these are fear based. But a love decision would be putting off the vacuuming because everyone is home at the same time for once and the kids want to play Ninja Squirrels. Or cutting back on overtime to help the kids with their homework and eat dinner together as a family. No matter what life throws at you, it’s important to let go of some of your fears so you can start living life and enjoy quality family time without feeling pressured or stressed.
Out of ideas for family time activities? You can always play a game. This November, we’re featuring our game Ninja Squirrels, winner of the 2017 Game of the Year award from Creative Child Magazine. Up to four people can play Ninja Squirrels, and it’s a fast-paced game that will help your child improve their fine motor skills.
Got any tips for finding quality family time? Let us know in the comments. We love to hear from our readers.