When my kids were little I spent a lot of time with them. I fed them, clothed them, bathed them, put them to bed, and before I knew it, it was time to do it all over again. Besides just taking care of their basic needs I went on play dates with them and took them to the park. Then on the weekends, when my husband wasn’t working, we did things together as a family.
As the kids got older, they became busy with school, sports, and activities. What we did together looked like getting everyone where they needed to be. It was all a very normal and healthy transition, but I quickly realized I needed to find ways more meaningful ways to spend time with my children. Plus, as their interests diverged, I saw the need to connect with them one on one.
Just like any relationship, the one with your child will benefit greatly from intention and consistency. << Tweet This
With just a bit of planning, the way we spent time together has changed. Instead of relying on connection here and there I schedule regular dates with my kids, just like I would with my husband or a friend. I decided spending time together was important to me so I made appointments on my calendar to do it. This allowed to me make sure each child gets the time and attention they need plus I could be sure there are no favorites played or the misconception of it.
Here are some simple ways I spend time with my kids:
Have a meal together. Everyone needs to eat, right? Each month, I pick up each of my kids up from school and take them to lunch. Their lunch and recess are back to back which gives us enough time to eat a packed lunch at a local park, or grab a piece of pizza, or a soup and sandwich at a local restaurant. Sometimes we’ll even do breakfast or lunch on a weekend to change it up.
Run errands together. Think dry cleaning, bank deposits, or car wash. My daughter comes with me each week to pick up the groceries. The ride there and back provides a great opportunity to talk, plus I appreciate her help.
Start a club together. Options include, books, crafts, and games. My oldest daughter loves to cook; so few years back we started a cooking club. We spend time picking out recipes and setting up together. The bonus is I get to hang out will her friends and get to know them better too. This has provided an amazing opportunity to mentor the girls as they head into their teen years.
Read a book together. As my kids became independent readers I was tempted to give this one up but I’m glad I didn’t. Reading with each of them looks different. Right now, my son and I snuggle before bed and take turns reading chapters from the mystery Lock and Key. I just finished the “big kid” picture book Bard of Avon with my youngest daughter and son. Once a week, my two girls and I are read Graceful together and discuss each chapter as we go along. My oldest daughter and I listen to YA audiobooks independently and then talk about it when I tuck her in at night.
Go for a run or walk together. Once the weather gets warmer and the days get longer we tend to be outside more. A morning run or a quick walk around the block after dinner combines a bit of exercise with time to connect.
There is nothing extraordinary about any of the things on my list, they’re all pretty basic. The most important thing is the planning and consistency. My kids were able to count on me to spend time with them because I put it in my planner and do my best to stick to, I don’t leave it up to chance.
Listen to this podcasts episode for more on the topic.
Episode 39 Making Time for Your Kids
Relationships thrive with intentionality! In previous episodes we’ve talked about making time for our friends, our spouse, now we're talking about how to make time for our kids. We're not talking about the kind of time where you drive your kids where have to be, or time spent watch their sporting events, or band concerts, or even volunteering at their school. We're talking about real relationship and connection.