Some days when I’m at work, I feel guilty that I’m not with my kids. And some days when I’m with my kids, I’m feeling guilty that I’m falling behind on my workload.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to be present. At least, I’m getting better at it. When I’m at home, I’m trying not to think about work. And when I’m at work, I know my kids are going to a great school they love and they’re being influenced by their wonderful teachers.
In an effort to be present, I’m trying to squeeze in even more one-on-one time with each child. We’re constantly being pulled in a million directions with homework, sports and practices, plus a variety of other meetings, errands and tasks.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of nine ways that you can squeeze in just a little bit more quality time out of the day. We’re talking about being super efficient here. This is taking your already busy schedule and making the most of it!
Psst – Before we get to those, if you need help with how to talk to your kids when you find these hidden moments, make sure to check out these posts:
- Tips from a Teacher: 9 Questions to Get Your Kids to Finally Open Up
- Hundreds of Conversation Starters for Kids
#1 – Recruit a helper with dinner every night.
Every parent has to make dinner in the evening. So, choose a helper and give them some tasks. You can also pepper in questions about their day or even learn something new together.
#2 – Driving time is your best friend.
We spend so much time in the car every day. Use the time where everyone is belted in and not going anywhere to start some quality conversation.
I’ve been taking one of my kids with me when I have to run a quick errand. The one-on-one time is great and we usually stop some place for a treat after the errand.
#3 – Slow down for bedtime.
Take a few extra minutes to establish some routines. That might look like a back rub, a story or a special song. But, this time of the day can be really sweet as kids are winding down.
#4 – Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Instead of spending 10 minutes going over the floors after dinner, take those minutes and braid your daughter’s hair or put together a puzzle with your son. Your house will just get messed up any way, when you can, look past dust and piles of laundry to put in the investment of time with your child.
#5 – Put your phone down/computer away after school.
When the kids get home from school, instead of trying to squeeze in one more email make a commitment to stop work right then and there, so you’ll be ready for those opportunities to spend one-on-one time with your child.
#6 – Take advantage of waiting time.
When you’re waiting for a doctor appointment or waiting in line at the store, take those few extra minutes and interact with your child. It can be as simply as tickling them or looking them in the eyes and saying ‘I love you.’
#7 – Eat together.
If everyone is going their own ways with after school activities, it’s easy to have everyone eat on their own. But, this is a time you could grab one of your children and sit together to eat.
#8 – Sneak into their nap time or quiet time.
When your kids are having their nap or quiet time, sneak in and cuddle for a few minutes. Obviously this is best for babies and toddlers at the beginning or end of their nap, but the extra cuddles will be appreciated.
#9 – Split up the parenting tasks.
Instead of having both parents make dinner and clean up dinner, divide up the duties and the other parent can take that time to help with homework or read a book with a child. Switching off gives parents a break from the chores and lets kids get more time with a parent.