Balancing work with family life can be a constant juggle, one teacher and blogger, Carol of My Bored Toddler, knows too well. Today she shares 5 tips for making the most of everyday moments to connect with your kids.
Connecting with our kids is not always as easy as it sounds. Life is busy, hectic even – there is always something happening. In our household we had two children under the age of two, so life when they were little was especially crazy. Finding time in a regular day to stop and connect can be difficult and it’s even harder when you can’t always be physically there.
There are many situations that take us away from our homes and families, and often these situations stem from necessity, not choice. For many, being a working parent is a financial necessity while for others the work/life balance that comes with a career is important. Whatever the reasons behind it, struggling to find meaningful time with your kids when time is limited can be tough.
Many parents experience feelings of (unnecessary) guilt about the constant work-life balance stuggle but it’s important to realise that the quality of time spent together can be just as important as the quantity, and that there are ways to overcome the barriers faced as a working parent to provide opportunity for meaningful connection.
5 Ways to Connect With Kids When Time Is Limited
#1 Nominate a ‘bed time night’ If you’re not normally the parent who oversees bed time, try to set aside one night a week (or month) to take over the bedtime routine. This might be on a weekend or on a night where you are able to get home a little earlier. Be there for bath time, read the stories (here’s a great list of books for toddlers) and enjoy some quality time with your kids as they wind down from the day. You’ll be amazed how much they’ll look forward to this.
Or, if nights aren’t possible, take over the morning routine and spend time together eating breakfast and getting ready to face the day.
#2 Organise a special play date If you’re away for work a lot, nominate a day when you return to have a one on one play date. Plan it in advance, lock it in and make it an event to look forward to. Your plans don’t have to be fancy – a trip to the park, an ice cream and time with you will put a smile on the face of most kids.
#3 Find a day to do the school or day care run My daughter is always so excited if someone other than me drops off or picks her up from kindy, talking about it for days beforehand. Sometimes it’s the really simple things that make their day.
#4 Have a special project that is just for you to do with the kids In our house, Dad’s project is building toy cars while I enjoy doing crafts and creative activities with my girls. Once again, keep it simple but make it your special activity.
#5 Stay in touch Embrace technology to stay connected when you are travelling. Skype is great for young children. Why not read them a story over Skype? Older children will appreciate your effort to stay in touch with Facetime or a thoughtfully timed text message. You can always connect through snail mail too – sending a postcard or letter. My kids love checking the mail and receiving a postcard from family is always exciting. There’s also the added fun of writing or drawing a reply and posting it back.
Remember that while your children may not understand why you can’t be there all the time, they will remember the times you were. Keep them simple, make them meaningful and focus on quality over quantity.
About Carol: Carol is a teacher and mother of 2 young children. She shares lots of fun activities for toddlers over at My Bored Toddler and you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook or join her toddler parenting Facebook group.