Life with four kids is busy. When people ask me what it's like, my usual response is that I am always with at least one of my kids at any point in the day (yes I work from home and yes that is still true) for the most part. We love doing things as a family though, and we love being together, but lately I have decided to also try to focus more on the kids individually, since it doesn't always happen as much as it should in our everyday life. I read a quote once from Dr. Anthony P. Witham, who said "Children spell love T-I-M-E", and that has always stuck with me. Time is a hot commodity in my house, but I want to make a concerted effort to carve out time dedicated to each one of the children, individually. A kids date gives me the time (and relative quiet) to really talk to them one on one, listen to them, find out what is on their minds, hear the little things that might get overlooked in our sometimes boisterous family dinner chaos.
It doesn't have to be something extravagant or expensive, maybe just going out to get a bagel or a cupcake, going to the library or the park, just something that is one on one time where they are the only focus.
- dinner and a movie
- museum hopping (The Children's Museum at Saratoga and the Automobile Museum are great options locally)
- running (or walking) a 5k together
- trying a cooking class (check out the local offerings from Healthy Living Market and Cafe here)
Another great idea I read and fell in love with is the idea of "Phantom Time", where you can still let your children know that you care even if you don't have a ton of spare time to spend with them at the moment. It can be as simple as writing a lunchbox note, or leaving a special note in their book for them to discover.
Incorporating some quality time into every day stuff works too. Children, especially younger ones, love to help. Make grocery shopping “fun time” with you by making it into a scavenger hunt. More than once I have asked one of the kids to tag along to Target with me in order to squeeze in a little chatting time. My three year old loves to help out whenever I have to go to the Post Office, and so a regular humdrum errand turns into an opportunity for us to do something together.
Do you worry that you aren't making enough time? I don't want to heap on even more anxiety with parenting by worrying about this, but the time does go by fast, and I love this as an idea to slow things down a bit. Sometimes maybe it means saying no to other things in order to say yes to this. Do you have ideas on how to make more quality time? Share them in the comments section below... xoxo