Loving these little day dates with my kids, because with four of them, it’s so easy to get into the routine of “getting them all taken care of” that we forget to really pay attention to the needs of their hearts. Something is always spilling, someone is always hungry, someone has just tripped, someone needs a diaper change…. really, the day can feel endless with tasks, and the most important one, the one of tending to their emotions, is the one that typically isn’t at the forefront of our minds.
At least for me, that’s how our day rolls.
Which is why one big mom tip is to keep comfortable shoes on hand to keep up with their busy little bodies, and shop for them online at places like Zappos (free returns!)! It saves time AND money and this is why I love these LifeStride shoes via Zappos, I can still wear heels, but they stay comfortable all day.
In a big family, each of our kids has their own relationship with each other and I love watching the way it unfolds between them. We definitely have no shortage of sibling arguments and tantrums, but it’s those sweet moments between each of them that really tug at my heartstrings. Like when Aria asks, “Skylar, play blocks me?” and he happily builds a block tower with her as they laugh about knocking it over. Or the times Brayden and Aliyah tell jokes and laugh as they splash in the pool… these sweet moments trump the rest.
As I look at each of their relationship between each other, it makes me reflect on my relationship with each of my little ones. Each with it’s own rhythm and synergy.
How often do you spend quality time with your child?
When it was just one kiddo, even with life happening and busy schedules, it was easier for that one-on-one time. Now with four, time is definitely spread thin, but that doesn’t mean my kids don’t crave (and same goes for me!) that one-on-one time. And so even though they have created and cultivated their own relationships with each other, Chris and I have found it so important and invaluable to carve out quality time with each of our kiddos.
While it isn’t always easy to do, it makes such a difference just in their countenance and demeanor… and I know that it’s making a difference in their heart towards us and our heart towards them.
So today I’m sharing a few essential tips to spend quality time with your child and make them feel special.
Make meal time a special time.
Okay, so this doesn’t ALWAYS happen. Sometimes meals just need to get on the table quick and sometimes the day gets away from us, so I’ll cook while Chris gives the littles baths and the older ones finish homework – but when we can, I’ll spend some quality one-on-one time in the kitchen with just one of my kids.
The good thing is they’re all still at that young age where they love to help measure, stir, pour, ask questions, sing songs and more… so they LOVE it when I pick just one of them to work with me in the kitchen.
Pop popcorn for a movie or favorite show.
You know when you get to the end of the day and you just want to put your feet up? Pop a bag of popcorn (or go old school with a air popper, kids love it!) and invite them to watch a movie, or even create a tradition with a favorite weekly show. You get to cuddle, rub their hair and put your feet up… and they get to climb up close to you and usually end up chatting with you about life during that time together (so make sure it’s a movie or show you won’t mind talking through).
Schedule kid dates (one-on-one)
We’ve found some of the best times with our littles is when we take the time to take one of them out… out of the house, out of the crowd, out of their usual surroundings to explore and do something together. It doesn’t have to be expensive (though those once in awhile are fun too, like a theater experience, etc), or long, but even just a small break from the norm is a great way to build a bond together.
Even with our sometimes crazy schedules, I like to sneak out for a coffee or smoothie with one of my wee ones. They know I love a good coffee, so it makes them feel extra special to dress up a bit, wear those good shoes that have already arrived on our doorstep via Zappos.com, order their own drink and experience it all together.
Color with your kids
Coloring is relaxing as it uses a different part of the brain than the part we’re constantly using to run a household or business. It helps us to disconnect from what’s happening around in our peripheral and focus on something else and can end up being very cathartic. Another big plus is that it allows for increased open communication because it takes away the vulnerability of direct eye contact.
Win with game night
From playing games with the whole family, to taking on a puzzle one-on-one playing together is a great way to connect! Kids love board games and get so excited to play together, and puzzles are much like coloring and allow for more of that open communication.
Make it happen.
Whatever way you choose to connect, the biggest takeaway is to just make it happen. For you it could be finding the in-between moments or it could be scheduling it ahead of time, just like you would an appointment. Instead of focusing on the time you don’t have, look at the little changes you can make to add in quality time with your child. Once you begin to get in the habit, it will be easier to make happen… and you’ll also see the fruits of that labor!