Sunday, June 5, 2011

Simple Sundays! Do you Spend Enough Quality Time with Your Child?

It's often hard to figure out if you are spending enough quality time with your child and making time for quality time with your child can be a very difficult juggling act!  I have thought a lot of about this question and unfortunately, there’s no magic number of quality time hours that will make you a ‘good parent’.  Instead, it’s something you need to think about on your own…and I mean REALLY think about. 
Sometimes our children will let us know they need more attention by acting out (yelling or hitting for example).  Believe it or not, these children make it easier because they will let us know when they need more attention.  Other children are a little more difficult because they will play independently for extended periods of time and not always let us know in clear ways that they need more from us. 
Basically, it is simple.  If one of your priorities is spending QUALITY time with your child, your child will see that THEY are priority.  Do you think your child feels like quality time with his or her is a priority to you or do they think that cleaning, working, or another child is more important?  
I can hear you now…Toni’s a stay at home mom with only one kid, easy for her to say that I need to spend a lot of quality time with my child (if you are thinking this, please read my article, ‘Ode to working moms’).   I have seen many moms that work outside the home manage to spend quality time with their little ones.  Using some creativity, multitasking, and lots of enthusiasm-you can make it happen!  Here are some ideas:
1.        Take a walk while playing a game with your child.  Have a treasure hunt or play a game requiring finding things.  Even toddlers can find objects.  Sienna and I like to play a finding game on our walks.  I say, “I see a fire hydrant, do YOU see a fire hydrant?”  This is a great way to fit in some exercise while also spending quality time with your munchkin!
2.       Cleaning up.  Believe it or not children of all ages like to help!  Ask your toddler to help you put away laundry.  While taking clothes out of the dryer, have your little one figure out who the article of clothes belongs to and where it needs to go.  Then have them put the clothes in thei appropriate room.  For older kids, turn on some music and set a timer, ask your child to see if they can do a cleaning task before the timer goes off.
3.       Set aside a date night (or even an hour to the ice cream shop) with only one of your children to show them how special they are!
4.       Car Wash.  Believe it or not, kids think car washes are fun!  If you’re going through a car wash, your kids will love all the colors and hoses (especially if you show excitement too!)  If your child is older, they will love helping you at a do it yourself car wash or even in your driveway (although old clothes are a must!)
NOTE:  If you feel you haven’t spent enough quality time, let me first warn you that your child will probably resist when you do try to cuddle or play games with them at first.  But that’s o.k.  Maybe your child doesn’t want to cuddle on the couch but sitting next to them while watching TV and asking them about the show  THEY are watching is a great way to start the process of engaging with them and showing them that you are interested in what they like (even if it’s Barney!!)   

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