Life is busy. By the time work, school, extracurriculars, chores, and homework are finally all done, the day might be over before you even have the chance to simply spend time with your kids. Thankfully, research has found that when it comes to spending time with your kids, quality trumps quantity — it’s not about how long you have with them, but how you choose to spend that time that truly makes the difference.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has offered 9 tips for busy parents to ensure you’re spending high-quality time with your children:
- Have a daily “connect” time with your child. Do this face-to-face, if possible; but if this isn’t an option, create a routine for doing so in other ways, such as leaving a note in your child’s lunch bag, posting a note by his toothbrush, or writing an encouraging saying on a shared whiteboard in the house.
- Create a special ritual for you and your child—something that can be done every day. For example, let your child choose and read one book with you at bedtime.
- Tell your child you love her every day. And tell her how important she is to you and how she makes you feel.
- Reinforce positive behavior. For example, if your child completes his chores without you asking, acknowledge it with words of appreciation—even if you don’t have the chance to do so until the next day.
- Make and eat meals with your children whenever possible. If time is limited, look for simple meals that require very little preparation, or grab a healthy snack such as an apple and sit for a few minutes and chat with your child.
- Schedule time for doing an activity of your child’s choosing. Be sure to follow through and complete the activity without any distractions.
- Play with your child, even if it’s during bath time or outside before you drop her off at preschool. Every little bit of time makes a positive impact!
- Laugh and be silly with your child.
- Turn off technology when you spend time with your child. Try not to text, answer calls, scroll through social media, or watch television.