10 Minutes of Quality Time
Spending quality time with our children is so important because it strengthens our bonds with them, supports their development and satisfies their need to connect with us. Understandably, at times it may seem overwhelming to allocate specific periods to spend with our children, especially as our schedules are often hectic and busy. It isn’t unusual to find yourself in the same room as your child but consumed by the many different tasks that you need to undertake. Long days at work or around the home can leave us feeling exhausted, and too drained to engage in long periods of play activity.
But sometimes, even spending 10 minutes a day of undivided time with your child can reap potential benefits. Here are some easy ideas you can try:
Prepare a snack and eat together:
- You can involve your toddler by assigning some age-appropriate responsibilities, like spreading cream cheese on toast, or sprinkling salt or spices on whatever you are preparing.
Try some colouring or a simple arts ‘n crafts activity:
- You can either work together on the same picture or work alongside your toddler, side by side. Either way, do notice what they are doing and be sure to comment on it. “Wow. I see that you’ve used so many different colours!”
- Try drawing a picture together — you can alternate drawing something on a page. Use a circle for a head and see what they might want to add!
Allow them to lead you in play:
- Playing allows us to see the world through our childrens’ eyes. If you’re concerned the play might take too long, you can give them simple choices to work with; “I would love to play with you! Shall we play with your blocks, or your tea set?”
- Children being children, they are likely to want to keep the play going, and if that’s something you are able to do, keep going by all means. But if not, that’s okay.
- Make sure they know how much you enjoyed spending time with them and let them know that now, you need to do something else. “This was so much fun! I love it when we can play together. Mommy/Daddy has to go get dinner ready now, but I want to do this again tomorrow!”
You can also take the lead in play:
- Suggest a game. If you pick a game that you genuinely like doing, spending time playing with your child can be even more fun for the both of you. Item #2
- Of course, don’t feel rejected if your child doesn’t like your idea — take it as an opportunity to collaborate and find a game together.
Think up a short bed-time routine:
- Read a story or two with your child before bed.
- Children thrive on repetition and structure, so being able to look forward to that special time with you at night is something they will remember for long after.
Sing, or listen to music:
- You can try including lullabies and calming songs in your bed-time routine.
- Babies and young toddlers will love music and singing together with you, especially if these songs include actions.
- For older children, you can play music you both like on your smartphone and listen on one set of headphones as you snuggle together but remember, this is about spending quality time with each other, not the screen.
Connection and attachment will come naturally as a result of spending that quality time with your little one. And it doesn’t have to drain you of your time or energy. The key here is quality. Spending 10 minutes of quality time will feel less daunting. As the saying goes, “children spell love … T.I.M.E.”