Work takes up most of our day, the rest of it we reserve for our kids. We can’t spend as much time as we’d like to spend with them, so we should do the best we can to make that time meaningful.
For most of us even when we’re frustrated at work, thinking of going back to the kids gets us through it. So given how badly we want to be with them when we can, here’s a few ideas on how to spend quality time:
- Exercise: Do you remember how important exercise was as we were growing up? Have you noticed how our kids never exercise? Of course, we’re partly to blame, they do learn from what they see us do and when was the last time we exercised?
Start with a short routine in the morning (maybe 10 minutes?) of warm-ups or maybe a sport like basketball or tennis or badminton. You get the gist. Make your kids exercise with you and that’ll be quality time as well as self-improvement time. Everybody loves a two for one.
- Do the classics: Go old school with snakes and ladders and hide N’ seek. My kid once hid under the cot so long (I was unable to find him) that I went to the cops in panic. He came out of his hiding place eventually and the cops were none too pleased. It’s become a cherished story that’s repeated even today (20 years later) at family gatherings.
- Do the family date: Have a game night or a family night out every week. Make sure these are always fun and that you’re only involved with the family on these nights, this will become an event the kids look forward to every week.
- Walk with them: Walking together is rarely a silent activity, words start to flow and become full-blown conversations about life. If convincing your kids to take a walk isn’t easy, convince them to go along with you as you walk the dog (or other pets, I have a hilarious image in my head of a fishbowl on wheels with a leash). If you’ve got no pets and don’t want any, maybe walk the neighbor’s dog? This way, even the neighbors will owe you one!
- Build a pillow/cardboard fort: You remember how much fun it was when we were kids right? Or if you’ve never done it, then you really have to! And you know you’ve always wanted to. You could even set up beds in there and watch a movie even spend the night in there. It’ll be a memory not easily forgotten.
- Music: Seriously, music! Play them yours (after moderation, obviously) and let them play theirs. The new Disney tracks are really good anyway, they might just have you beat hands down. Karaoke with them and annoy the crap out of the neighbors (and if they complain, remind them that they owe you for walking their dog).
- Create your own album or dance video: Chances are this is going to produce a terrible result, but that’s the very essence of it. You’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about in front of your kids and they don’t have to be embarrassed in front of you either. This will also be a memory you can listen to or watch years later and roll on the floor laughing. Pick a really difficult artist to make it all the funnier.
- Build something: Like the Apollo rocket or science models. Maybe even make it a long-term project, (if you’ve got the skills) build your own engine, bit by bit. They’ll be older when it’s complete but it’d be an impressive accomplishment for sure.
- Stargazing: Take some time to learn about various constellations and their appearance based on location. When you’re able to find them with a certain accuracy grab your kid and a cozy bed and get to the roof or an open field. The further you are from the city, the easier this task is (the darker the better). Create a nice memory and spend some one on one quality time. Make sure no electronics come along though.
- People-watch: Have you heard that term before? It’s a real thing, apparently. Go to a café or sit by the sidewalk with your kid and trade stories of what the lives of people that pass by are like. These stories will be your imagination taking form and I’ve read the stories you project onto these people are extensions of yourself. If that’s true you might just gain some valuable insight into your kid’s mind as well.
I hope at least a few of these ideas are useful to you, there’s a second list in the works right now. If you’ve got other great ideas on spending quality time with your kids mention them in the comments below.