1. One-on-one time (at least 1 time per month) Alone time with your child is best when you are doing something you both enjoy. With one family it may be the time when Dad takes the baby so Mom can spend time with the older child. This could mean going to a movie, going to the local theater to see Cinderella, taking one child to grocery shop, taking them to the playground, or just sitting at the park on a bench and talking. The frequency of one-on-one time is up to you, but the children were interviewed said at least once a month is the minimum. If you are a single parent with more than one child you could arrange it so that each Saturday you spend quality time with one of your children and the last Saturday of the month you spend quality time as a family. Marking your dates down on a calendar is a great idea and shows your children you make this time a priority.
2. Monthly Birth DATEChildren love to be the center of attention but when there is more than one sibling chances are you’re being pulled in every direction. Every month on their BIRTH DATE you can make it an “all about them day” where they can pick the movie to watch at home, pick what to eat for dinner or for dessert, pick what game they want to play as a family, what family event they want to have that day (go to the park, take a walk, go for a swim etc). The point is to make the day about them but not as special as a birth DAY.
3. Integrate Together Time into Your Daily Schedule Children love to help. Do you have a mailing to do? Have them put the stamps on the envelopes. Need to go shopping? Make grocery shopping “fun time” with you. Need to make dinner? Let them help you by contributing to the preparation process. While it might be messier and it may time more time in the beginning, you will see that the children will become your greatest helpers and they will look back and remember that “before dinner” was always special time with you.
4. Gestures of Love Don’t have a moment to spare until about 3 a.m.? You can still let your children know that you care. Write notes and drop them into their lunch boxes. This was one of the top ten things children told me made them feel loved and cared for by their parent. Other ideas would be to record a short video for them using a camera and leaving it for them at the breakfast table. Be creative here!
5. Take Breaks (at least 2 times per week) Everyone is busy. Some parents are busier than others. Slide in a “break time” so that you and your children can spend 15 minutes or a half hour together. Set a timer or alarm on your phone if you need to so that everyone knows when “break time” starts and finishes. Give warnings to your children when 2 minutes are left so that it doesn’t come as a surprise. . If you have little to no time, arrange it so that you can take at least one break per day and go up the list of children starting with the youngest ones.
6. Wake up a little bit earlier Wake your child up 15 minutes early so that you can spend a little extra time doing something fun in the morning. You might not think that 15 minutes is any significant time at all, but to a child, it is 15 extra minutes with you. Spending time with your children provides them with opportunities to learn and to be heard. Most of all, it provides you and your children with time to connect. It’s these connections that make your children feel loved. So leave the beds undone for another few minutes and put the coffee on an automatic timer. Take those extra moments to spend with your children. When you look back, you will be thankful for the memories.
7. Tell them a Story Have children get ready for bedtime 30min before and read them a short story. Children can take turns choosing the bedtime stories. Children love stories and it is a fun way for you to invest time in their lives. Find out how to become a great storyteller and enjoy making believe with your kids.
8. Plan a Picnic During the spring and summer time, kids love to be outdoors with their parents. You don’t have to be out all day, simply make some sandwiches, cut up some fruit and take some cold drinks. Head to the park or any grassy area (take umbrellas and blankets to sit on if needed) and enjoy the time together with your children.
9. Family Night Pick a night of the week (ex: Fridays) and spend that night together as a family. Pick your activity such as play a game together, play sports, play instruments, make arts or crafts, etc. Any activity you choose where everyone will have fun and spend it as a family will be fine.
10. Eat Together So many families struggle to find time to interact. Make it a point to at least have dinner together as a family. Try to stay at the table until everyone finishes eating.
SPEND AT LEAST 15 minutes QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR CHILD EVERYDAY! - each of your children! We often assume that our children know we love them and care for them because they are our children but we couldn’t be more wrong. We have to show our children, we have to tell our children and we have to make time for our children! Spending quality time with our children is extremely important for their development, behavior and happiness. Child professionals have interviewed thousands of children around the world and what they found out is that time spent with children doesn’t need to be elaborate or long, but it must be “quality”. We must find ways then to slow down and slip in some memorable time that will let our children know that we love and care for them.
Children’s behavior when they are not getting enough attention: Many children will let you know in their own “subtle” ways if they feel that you are not giving them the attention that they need. Some will withdraw while others will “act out.” You might see it when a child gives “lip” to a teacher, fights with another classmate or resorts back to behaviors that once got your attention like increased crying, throwing tantrums or even bed-wetting. This is a way to capture your attention, albeit often negative, so that they can enjoy “focused” time with you. Essentially the thought process is, “if I can’t get her attention by doing something good, I’ll get her attention by doing something bad.” Nobody wants that!