Our days can seem to fill themselves: and while family vacations, afternoons at the park, and movie dates are great ways to relax, we need to make even a small connection in the everyday-ness of life.
Whether time with your kids is spent through backseat conversations and hurried drop offs…or seemingly endless days at home, where the schedule often looks the same-here are some easy and inexpensive ways to let kids know they are the most important part of your day.
1. Lunchbox notes. My kids love a personal message, often written on their napkin. “Good luck with spelling today!” “Be a good friend :)” and of course “Mommy loves you!” give them a virtual hug midday.
2. “Coffee” date! A mom fave, whether running between soccer, piano, and tutoring, or just escaping the house for a few hours. Take your little on a solo date. Don’t have much time? Even 15 minutes over hot chocolate can be a nice change of pace.
3. Do their chore for them. Kids get stressed too. Make their bed (just this once 😉 unload the dishwasher, or feed the dog. Show them that we can demonstrate our love for one another through small caring gestures.
4. Let them help, and use it as a teaching moment. Running errands all day? Give them the list and let them try to sound out the words and check things off. Explain why we make deposits at the bank, or other age-appropriate conversations. Involving them in the business of your family makes them feel like an integral part of everything.
5. Turn everyday work into time together. Dinner needs to be on the table but there are ways for all ages to help out. Little ones can count and wash veggies, while bigger kids can help measure or cut. Let them know you appreciate their help.
6. Turn off the technology. This may be met with resistance (or hard for mom and dad) but a game night is a fun way to switch it up. Laughter, eye contact and just switching up the routine might be just enough to get everyone back to square one.
7. Have a little treat! Kids love to bake. Depending on your kitchen comfort zone this can be a seasonal favorite like banana bread or pumpkin muffins, or a .99 brownie mix from the supermarket.
8. Connect one-on-one. Whether there is one tiny person or 10, carve out some individual time with each kid. Need to run to the store, mow the yard, or fix the faucet? Take your tiny someone with. Age appropriate tasks, and that all important title of “helper” can make a child’s day.
9. Get fit as a family. Headed out for your morning walk or jog? Bring your little one in a stroller! You can borrow one from a friend before making a purchase. Bigger kids may love to tag along, and if its not their thing, let them time you, bike alongside, or bring you a water. Not part of your normal routine? Maybe it should be. 🙂
10. Make bedtime a time to connect. Whole day flew by? NO problem. Read to your little one, let them read to you, or just lay there and talk about your day for a few minutes. These are special moments your child will always remember.
This is your life. Your messy, busy, wonderful, unpredictable life. It doesn’t have to be a sunlit day of Instagram worthy moments to make a difference to your kids. Make every moment count!