One of my new year’s resolutions is to spend more quality time with my kids. I don’t think I can suddenly create bags of new time, so I want to get smarter about the time I already have in new ways.
Maybe you feel the same way?
Looking online I saw a lot of generic advice that, to be perfectly honest, just doesn’t work. Things like:
Have you seen this kind of advice before? For me, it is too generic and hard to implement.
I think that the modern, busy parent needs more “hacks.” Practical tips and tricks that we can keep up our sleeve that will actually work.
If you feel the same, then keep on reading.
Because these past few days I’ve been asking parents on social media for their top hacks. The things they do that actually help to spend more quality time with their kids.
Loads of responses came in and I want to share my favourites.
If your kids are anything like mine they “waste” time playing silly games or watching nonsense on YouTube. Normally I walk in and want to tell them off, but this year I am going to try and take more of an interest. What are you playing? How does it work? Who is she? What are they doing? These are all questions we can be asking our kids to take a genuine interest in what they are interested in. We might just learn something new too!
Parents are expected to know the answer to everything, but I think that can be grating for kids after a while. What if we become the student instead? Our kids will know much more about certain games, or latest technology or fashion trends etc. This year I’m going to admit I don’t know everything and have my kids open my eyes to new things!
We are in the car so often going places. Most of the time we are late and so the trip feels hurried and stressed. This year I am going to remind myself that getting agitated won’t make the journey any quicker. So I might as well enjoy the time we all have sat down together. Just need some fun talking games up our sleeves. Here is a list I put together in the past which is a good reminder I think!
Things break in the house all the time. That chair, the clock, our lights etc. I’m not great at DIY but even I can figure out how to YouTube simple stuff and get it fixed. Normally I wait for the kids to be distracted so I can just get on with it. But this year I will try to include them in the process. OK, it might be a little slower but they will learn good life skills. And sometimes it is actually super helpful to have another pair of hands holding that torch or keeping that screw in place!
How many times do your kids say “Mummy…?” or “Daddy…?” and you are so busy doing whatever you are doing that you just say “Hmmm…?” and carry on? Happens to me all the time! But this year I want to make a conscious effort to stop. Put down my phone, or laptop, or newspaper or whatever I am busy with. Make eye contact. And take just 30 seconds to really listen to what they have to say.
When popping down to the shops it is easy to jump in the car, and during the winter months a lot warmer too! But when you factor in traffic and parking etc, it might be just as quick to walk. And walking with your kids, especially hand in hand if they are not too “cool” for this yet, is a wonderful thing. In the past I put together this list of interesting discussion starters when walking with kids, and this year I am going to revisit it when about town!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could surprise and delight our children with a fun and unusual question? Something that that they don’t expect for a change! Even for me who makes a living from writing unusually good questions for kids, I often fall into the trap of asking the boring “how was school today?” type questions. This year I am going to keep better questions closer to hand, which of course means using the KidCoachApp even more.
One hack of a mum who subscribes to the app is to keep it on her home screen, in between her Facebook and Google apps so she sees it more often!
As a reminder, the KidCoachApp has hundreds of quick, fun and thought-provoking questions for your kids. It’s perfect to get your 6-12 year olds talking and thinking more, and it gives you an easy way to spend five minutes of quality time with your kids each day. You can download it for free and get started in seconds on the Apple app store or on the Google play store!
I really appreciated hearing these ideas from other parents. It was just the kind of stuff I can get onboard with. And I can really see them working to spend better quality time with my kids.
It’s much easier for me to “make eye contact” than it is to “prioritise my to do list”!
I also like how spontaneous some of this stuff can be. Yes, you can make quality time by scheduling a trip to the Zoo. But it can also spring up on you in the car on the way there, or waiting in line at the ticket kiosk or while reading the map to plan your day together!
It’s like child psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson said here: “Chatting with your children for ten minutes while on the school run, offering them advice, listening to their stories, swapping ideas and suggestions and generally being present in the accidental moments you share as part of your daily routines can have a significant impact.”
What about you?
Do you have some hacks that already work really well for your family? I’d love to hear them.
You can join the conversation on this Instagram post and add in your ideas. It’ll take a few seconds and you’ll be helping lots of other families who see it.
And remember to try the KidCoachApp to put hack #7 into practice!