Now that school has started, parent’s schedules just got a lot more complicated. Not only do you have earlier mornings filled with school lunches, permission forms, and trying to get kids out the door on time— you’re apart from each other for a whole day.
It can be challenging when your family is really busy to find enough quality time together to help you all feel connected, happy, and a family. It can feel like you have to spend hours and hours of time together, but what I have found is it’s really about the quality verses the quantity.
There are simpler ways to connect with your child after a long day of school and work that won’t require you to slow down your busy lives and will still make both parents and children feel loved, connected, and a family. Here are my seven ways that you can ensure quality time with your child (even when life is crazy busy!):
1. Have your kids make dinner with you
Making dinner is an activity that my kids really love to do! It’s a chore and a learning experience, yet it’s so fun they don’t realize it. Not only does it give us the opportunity to spend quality time together, they’re learning valuable life skills, and learning how food is prepared.
2. Ask your kids about their day and tell them about yours
One of the first questions many parents ask their kids when they step off the school bus is, “how was your day?” This question is great and a wonderful way to connect with each other— if you’re asking the right questions. Being involved and interested in each other’s day shows you care and can help both parents and kids feel like even though they’re apart for hours a day, they’re still aware of what’s going on. Ask specific questions about the day like ‘what did you have for lunch’, ‘what did you play at recess’, etcetera, and you’ll really begin to enjoy these conversations.
3. Do homework together
Okay, so school homework is a drag, but at least there is a positive to it. If you work on it with your child, you’re guaranteed to have some time to connect while you work through 5th grade math or 4th grade spelling.
4. Read a book together before bed
Reading is great for kids and if you make it a nightly routine during their bedtime, it works wonders for the whole family. Integrated reading can help your kids see that it’s worthwhile, you’re fostering their love for reading and imagination, plus you get all that time together you can look forward to.
5. Eat dinner together
If every member of the family is running into different directions going from one after-school sport or event, there won’t be any time for anyone to take time to talk – but there’s always dinner! IF you make eating together as a family a priority, you can have at least the 30-45 minutes nightly to spend time together.
6. Keep electronic usage down during the school week
If your kids are coming home after school as you’re getting off of work and your noses are immediately into your tablets, video games, or the TV – it’s hard to feel connected. Try limiting the screen time during the week and focus more on activities that you can do together (like crafts or even board games).
7. Go on a family walk after dinner
It’s one of my family’s favourite things to do and it’s something every member of the family can look forward to. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated – even just 30 minutes and it will help everyone feel closer. Plus, nightly exercise is good for everyone!
What are some of the ways you connect with your child after school?
Photo credit: shannonkringen | Flickr
Devan McGuinness is the editor-in-chief and founder of byDevan.com. Previously blogging at AccustomedChaos.com, Devan branched out to start byDevan.com — a resource for busy people who still want time for exceptional. She has been married to her high-school sweetheart for 10 years and they are parents to 4 children, who they home school. Diagnosed with celiac disease and casein intolerance, the allergy-friendly recipes on byDevan are real meals she and her family actually eat at home.