How to spend more quality time with your children

We all know this and try it, but is it working? How do you know it is enough? 

Kids don’t lie, they express their feelings by talking, acting and behaving certain ways. I personally came to realize that when I started working full time after my maternity leave and peaked when my 18 month old started daycare. I was in a rush in the morning getting ready to leave the house, making breakfast, daycare and then start my work day. At work, there’s always too much to do. Then in a rush again for daycare, home for dinner, family time, bath and bedtime. 

Those couple of hours of family time, depending on your age, require some sort of energy to be engaged and connect with your children which is difficult to have after being hustling since 6am in the morning. The easy thing to do is to turn on the TV, rest and let your child run and play. 

The difficult moment came when I craved a hug or snuggles from my baby boy but he didn’t seem interested or engaged with me. If you are a parent, you know that it is a very hard pill to swallow. I then understood the monotony and routine of our lives and asked myself “What can I do to connect with my child that is under my control?”; and the answer was to spend more quality time with him. 

My version of quality time is not his version of quality time. He is almost 20 months old now, full of energy, not able to have a grown up conversation and wants to play all the time; so I needed to adapt myself to his rhythm if I wanted to bond. How do you do that?

  • Make more efforts to have the TV off as much as you can. When the TV is on, you get distracted and your child gets distracted
  • Propose a few toys to play with your child and follow his lead on whatever he prefers.
  • Sit on the floor and engage playtime at eye level
  • Talk to him in a soft and caring manner
  • Describe whatever you both are doing during playtime permitting him to answer in the best of his ability
  • Smile when you make eye contact
  • Hug and kiss him often
  • Use positive and encouraging words to boost his confidence
  • When he starts getting distracted, propose a new toy or activity to play with
  • If your child likes to play lego, then play lego together
  • If your child likes to run around the house, then chase him around the house.
  • If your child likes to play with dolls, then play dolls together

Kids are kind and caring by nature. Be persistent for the first few weeks. It will take some time until you get used to this new normal. Soon you’ll see your little boy smiling at you, running for a hug and snuggling in your arms. All you have done will be worth it.