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Practical Ways to Stay Connected With Your Kids
Between working full-time, managing your home, and balancing all of your other
responsibilities, taking time to play with your kids may feel like one more thing on
your to-do list. However, maintaining your relationship with your children is one
of the most important things you do on a daily basis--and, fortunately, it doesn’t
have to cost much time, either. In fact, you can squeeze quality time with your
kids into some of the things you are already doing, such as:

Driving in the car.
This is something you may do every day, out of necessity. Why not use those ten
or fifteen minutes to cultivate some quality time with your kids? Ask them about
their day, or about a book they’re reading. Remember, too, to be specific when
you present questions, so that you get more out of your kids than a noncommittal
“nothing” or “ok.”

Eating meals together.
Try to eat at least one meal with your kids every day. If you know that dinnertime
won’t work out because of your schedules, eat breakfast together. In addition,
see if you can occasionally take your kids out for a special breakfast or lunch.
The surprise will not only be fun for all of you, but it might also be just the thing
to put them at ease and get them to open up a bit more about issues like school,
friendships, and more.

Making dinner.
Here’s something else that you do every day. Why not invite your kids to be a
part of it? Even toddlers can have fun ripping lettuce for a salad. Turning cooking
time into connecting time will not only result in more quality time with your kids,
but it will also help you pass on some valuable life lessons, like how to prepare a
meal and set the table.

Doing dishes in the evening.
You might be tempted to dismiss your kids from the kitchen while you handle
the clean-up duty on your own. When you do that, though, you’re missing out
on another opportunity for quality time with your kids. If you have more than one
child, create a rotating schedule of doing “KP duty” together. In this way, you’re
not only creating more quality time, but you’re also creating one-on-one time with
each child.

Getting ready for bed.
Particularly if your children are young, the evening routine offers an ideal quality
time opportunity. Teach your children early on that bath time is a fun, upbeat time
to laugh and play together. In addition, spend time each evening cuddling and
reading a book together. Even older children still enjoy this time, and you may
find that it naturally turns into time that your child can ask you questions, share
concerns, and open up.


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