Spending quality time with your kids is not about Pinterest perfect DIY projects or Disney family vacations, it’s about carving out time in your ordinary daily life. It’s simple and meaningful interactions, like bedtime stories and family dinners, that are necessary for your kid’s development and future relationships. Learning how to create quality time with your kids is very important as a parent.

As parents, we spend a good amount of time preparing our kids for academic success and rewarding careers, but we are also helping to form healthy patterns for their adult friendships and romances.

Even if it feels like there’s not enough time in your day because of juggling multiple responsibilities at home or work, there are so many ways to slip some quality time into your daily routines, starting with these six general principles.

Six General Principles for Quality Time:

  1. Be authentic. Do you feel guilty when you see other parents posting on Facebook about their exotic family vacations or over-the-top birthday party? Instead of making comparisons, focus on activities that suit not only your family lifestyle but your budget as well.
  2. Pay attention. Let your kid know how much you care about them. Listen closely to what they have to say (no matter how many times they have said it to you). When you’re together, be fully present and try to avoid looking at your phone or thinking about your to-do list.
  3. Show appreciation. Give your kid plenty of praise and positive reinforcement. Congratulate their wins, no matter how small. Thank them for being patient with younger siblings or for taking out the trash without being asked.
  4. Discover their interests. Find out what your kid likes to do and create opportunities for you to do them together. You may both enjoy playing video games or reading the same books (we are huge Harry Potter fans).
  5. Make updates. Remember, your kid’s needs will change over time. As they grow from a toddler into a teen, while they may expect more independence, they’ll still welcome an invitation to practice driving or watch a favorite sport.
  6. Remain available. Quality time can happen anywhere. You’re bound to find opportunities as long as you make yourself easy to get to.

Parenting shifts as your kids shift. The best thing for me has been throwing any kind of parenting manual out of the window.

– kate hudson, mom/actress & founder of fabletics

Everyday Examples of Quality Time:

  1. Family meals. Eat together as often as possible. If you run into conflicts with weeknight dinners, make a big breakfast on a weekend morning.
  2. Share chores. Take your kids groceries shopping or let them help with the laundry. You’ll have a chance to catch up, and they’ll learn valuable life skills.
  3. Schedule one-on-one time. Make sure to get some one-on-one time with each of your kids on a regular basis. It’s the best way to get to know more about them and enjoy meaningful conversations you otherwise would miss.
  4. Travel together. Whether it’s a family vacation or driving to martial arts class, traveling together provides time to talk while you’re on your way to your destination. 
  5. Volunteer as a family. Helping others can draw you closer to your children. Support a cause you both care about or search online for local organizations you can donate your time to as a family.
  6. Take pictures. While connecting face to face is the most significant way to spend time with your kids, sharing messages throughout the day can help you stay in touch too. Send each other funny memes or gifs you come across during your day. Sometimes it amazes me how funny my kids are!
  7. Connect daily. Even if you work outside the home and see your kid for only a few hours most days, quality time pays off as long as you’re consistent. Make it a habit to catch up for 15 minutes when you arrive home or before bedtime. 

Building a positive relationship with your kids through quality time will give them the solid foundation they need to become happy, productive adults. Be grateful for every moment you spend together and create memories you all will cherish.

Angela Wynn
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