Children need lots of attention and love, often demanding more time than our busy schedules allow. Stressed-out parents are not effective parents. So, to ensure you are spending quality time with your child, spend some quality time with yourself.

Time-out for Parents

There will always be a million things to do – only you can snatch time for yourself. Here are some tips for making time for yourself:

  • put the kids down for a nap, then read, rest, exercise – do whatever makes you feel good.  Do not use this time to clean the house
  • establish a start-and-stop routine.  Say to your child: “Mommy is going to read a book now. Is there anything you want before I start?”
  • build up your private time. Gradually extend the time from a few minutes to an hour
  • at the end of your private time, spend time with your child in his or her favourite activity.

Time-in for Kids

Until we find a way to add more hours to the day, we have to make the best use of whatever time is available to us. Here are some suggestions for quality time together with your child:

  • go for a car ride. Belt out silly songs
  • read to your children. Use this time to touch and cuddle with them
  • take a walk in the woods. This is a great use of time to talk with and teach your child
  • find board games that are not boring. Many teach cooperation, fair play, reading and  memory skills
  • rent appropriate computer games. Let your child teach you how to play them – it can be a humbling experience
  • play with cards. A deck can teach simple numbers and counting
  • read a recipe together. Try to plan a meal
  • read signs and recite words while you are out for a drive
  • tell a story. Children are fascinated by stories that begin with “When I was little…”
  • do something grown-up together. Have a cup of tea in a restaurant. This is much different than the fast food experience
  • choose volunteer work that includes your kids. Even small children can help sort at the food bank. Senior citizen homes would also welcome a parent and child team
  • hug your child. It’s easy to cuddle a sweet two year old, but your 13 year old, the one with the attitude, needs a hug too.