Last week, I started talking about how important your children ARE! Yes, they really are important. It is also important you let them know just how important and special they are! One of the best ways to let them know is to spend quality time with them. I hope this post will help you find easier ways to spend more quality time with your children.
As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I am basically with my children twenty-four hours a day seven days a week for the entire year. I do have a few breaks, but not too many. I am not complaining. Yes, there are times when I long to have time for myself, but I try to do things I enjoy while my children are there too. I have another series How To with Children if you want some more ideas of how we do things in our family. You can spend time with your children, but is it quality time? You will have to define for yourself what quality time is with your children as I believe each family may have a different meaning. I think it is important in quality time that you are talking, laughing, playing, learning, etc. and most of all having fun and enjoying your time together. You could work on a project, but if you are a grouch and perfectionist, more than likely your child is not having a good time and does not feel like it is quality time with you! There are some easy ways to spend quality time.
- Sit down as a family for at least one meal a day! Supper is generally the easiest meal. My husband leaves for work before most of the children are awake. He eats his breakfast before he leaves, then I send him a lunch I made for him. He typically calls me as he leaves from work in the evenings so I will know what time to have supper on the table. He also will call or text if he thinks there is going to be a delay. The majority of the time he is back from work around 5:30-6pm. I shoot for this time to have supper ready. Having supper ready means, the table is set and the food is ready to be placed on the table when he comes in the door. I have the children help with meal preparation as well as the preparation of the table. At supper, we can talk and catch-up on what occurred during the day. We make it a point to avoid negative conversations and make sure each person gets a chance to tell Daddy how the day went as well as let Daddy tell us anything he wants. It is also a time for us to talk about what we need to accomplish that evening and the following day. It is one of our favorite times of the day!
- Turn off the TV. We do not even have a TV in our current house. In Tennessee, our TV was only for DVDs and Videos. We just have our computer to watch DVDs or stream things on line now. I am not saying all TV is bad. It has its place. However, it is difficult to spend quality time with your children or spouse when a TV is blaring and you are so engulfed in the show you are watching, you have no idea what is going on around you. I grew up in a house where the TV seemed to be on 24 hours a day! I learned to block it out. However, my husband who grew up without TV, cannot block it out nor can my children. If a TV is on, they are glued to it, and until you turn it off, you cannot get their attention! We seldom had meals at the table when I was growing up because either my dad was not home or he wanted to watch TV and the dining room table was not situated so he could see the TV. When I visit him today, I ask him to turn the TV off so the children can spend time with him. He has a tendency to watch shows which I do not want my children to watch anyway. I actually LOVE not having a TV! I never really watched it much anyway when I was growing up as I preferred reading. However, I did think it would be strange not having one on all the time as I did growing up. Instead, it is not strange at all! It is great! I have so much to do all the time, I know I could not get it all done if I was watching TV all the time!
- Turn off the Radio. I know there are many mothers who work and about the only time you are even with your children is in the car on the way to a ball game, recital, or some other event. If you fit into this category, then turn your radio off! Talk to your children instead! Ask them how their day went! Show a genuine interest in each of them! You can play soft music in the background, but do not let it keep you from spending some quality time with your children!
- Do things your child enjoys. Does your child enjoy reading books, going shopping, running, sewing, riding bikes, shooting hoops, or playing board games? Find out what your child really loves to do, and do it with them! My oldest loves throwing a football and playing football. He also likes to play just about any sport. I try to make it a point to do something with him each week. It is not something I necessarily love to do, but I try to do it to be with him. All of my children love to read. We have a book we read together during the day for school time (currently Little Men), and a book at night we read as a family (currently the Hardy Boys series). You do not know how much it will mean to your child if you drop all of your “stuff” and make him/her a priority!
- Do things together which need to be done anyway. These jobs are not going to be the most fun in the world, but do them together. Help your children clean their rooms and bathrooms. Fold laundry together. Talk while you are doing these activities. Tell stories, make jokes. My children have so much fun doing the most boring tasks when I can make it fun. My husband makes everything fun for the children. His mom was the same way with him. In my family, it was work first, play later, but it always seemed play time NEVER came! It seemed there was always work to do! Work together on projects around the house. We have lots of fun together. Sometimes we do get off task, but I am usually pretty quick to get us back on track. My children have learned the wise saying, “Many hands make light work!” The sooner we get the work over the more time for even more fun and play!
- Tuck your children in and pray with them every night. One of our most special times together each day is at night when we tuck our children in. It is our time to spend individual time with each child. We ask what things were good about the day as well as the things which were bad. I will also ask for any questions they may have or if there is anything they want to talk with me about. It is amazing how much each child will open up and how much you learn about each child! There are nights when I will get the answer, “Nothing really,” or something similar. I always try to point out the things which I loved they did each day and tell them I am thankful for them, proud of them, I love them, and most of all Jesus loves them and knows they are special too!
There are many, many ways you can spend quality time with your children. Be creative and enjoy every minute! They are only young once! You will not believe how many parents (including my own) who say, “I wish I would have spent more time with them when they were little! I miss those days so much!” Sure, it can be stressful and overwhelming at times. I certainly have those days, but they will soon pass! Enjoy them while you can!