How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Kids
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that moms work a lot of hours – when you factor in paid work and family duties, the average woman clocks about 98 hours a week or 14 hours a day, according to a recent study from Welch. Busy work, sports, activity and school schedules sometimes leave little time for family time – another recent study indicated that families enjoy just 37 minutes of quality time together during the work and school week.
“Lack of quality time, lack of alone time, lack of date nights – it can all add up to stress and frustration, not to mention missing out on those sweet moments with your partner or kids,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner, mom to five-year-old Autumn and three-year-old twins Emery and Brittan. “Sometimes you have to get a little creative when it comes to time together. We always strive to sit down together for dinner. My family also loves to be active so we do our best to make time for walks, bike rides, anything that gets us outside and active because it’s good for everyone and it’s a fun way to enjoy family time.”
If you are spending too much time running in different directions, these additional tips from Dr. Wagner can help you find a little more time together:
- Read together. Even if your kids are old enough to read themselves, family reading time is a great opportunity for quality time together. Take turns reading a chapter, introduce your kids to your favorite series when you were their age or host a reading contest to garner even more interest. This is also a great tech-free way to end the day.
- Get messy in the kitchen. Let your kids contribute to your grocery list, meal planning and cooking efforts. Bake a batch of cookies. Prepare meals for the week on Sunday. Encourage your kids to get their hands dirty and try something new – this can encourage healthier eating and add more family time to your schedule.
- Unplug together. Dr. Wagner and her family make unplugging a priority: “Electronics can be so distracting and this allows us to spend time together without all of those distractions.” This includes the TV as well as phones and tablets.
- Create a seasonal bucket list. What does your family enjoy doing in the summer? Winter? Ask for everyone’s input and make a list of seasonal to-dos that you can enjoy together. This can be as simple as a walk around the lake or a visit to your local apple orchard as well as bigger trips and outings.
- Make household work a fun family activity. Turn up some music, divvy up the chores and make cleaning a dance party, hide-and-seek opportunity or race to the finish. When you can accomplish two things at once – getting a cleaner house and enjoying some time together – it’s a true win-win. You can also fix things together and teach your kids useful life skills along the way.
- Do good. Find a volunteer activity once a month that everyone can participate in; you can even invite older kids to research and select the organization you want to support. You can support others, contribute to a greater cause and spend time doing good together.