Building quality time into your everyday routines

Children thrive on the exclusive attention of one of their parents. Negative, attention-seeking behaviors are reduced, grumpiness is often forestalled, and both parent and child acquire the contentment that comes from meaningful connections with the ones we love.

By being mindful of working one-on-one attention into your everyday routines, your family can reap the benefits of filling your child’s love tank.

Reconnecting after time apart

Taking a few minutes to snuggle and chat after you and your child have been separated can reestablish your connection in a way that sets a positive tone for the rest of your time together. For instance, spend a minute or two in the morning exchanging good morning hugs and talking about the day ahead. Or, when you bring your child home after preschool, take a few minutes to eat a snack together and chat about your child’s day.

Use car time

Chances are, you and your child find yourselves together in the car pretty regularly, View these times as opportunities to talk together. Tell stories about your own childhood or talk about the things that populate your child’s world, such as things they love to play with, their friends, or what they're working on at school. You can also use these times to talk about important topics – like what makes a good friend, for instance. For younger children, pointing out things like, “Oh I see a red car! Can you find one?” also offers the chance to reinforce learning in a fun way. No matter how you choose to use car time, seeing it as a chance for uninterrupted conversation will open up opportunities for connection.

Go on errand-dates

Your young children love to be with you, and it doesn’t matter much what you’re doing. Taking your child with you and making even something as simple as a grocery trip into an outing turns chores into meaningful time spent together. Involve Baby in your world, telling them what you’re shopping for, asking for input where possible, and maybe choosing a treat together.

Quality time at bedtime

In the same vein as re-establishing connection after time spent apart, making connections before a separation is also valuable. Incorporating storytime into a bedtime routine is one very beneficial way to spend time together. But including a more unstructured one-on-one with Baby before they go to sleep is an excellent component to incorporate as well. Sit or lie down with them, snuggle, or rub their backs. Anything that facilitates relaxation, closeness, and openness.

When your child is very young, they may not talk much, but they will know that at the end of every day, they'll have special time with you. As they get more communicative, they'll come to count on this time as a chance to talk with you about things that makes their heart sad or glad. Deep talks won’t happen every night but creating the space for such interaction through a time that happens every single day will become a cornerstone of your evolving relationship with your child.

While “dates” with your child are certainly special for both of you, it’s not always practical to arrange these kinds of times. However, using the time that you do have together, and being mindful of how to create quality time out of everyday moments, ensures that waiting for the perfect time doesn’t prevent you from seizing the moments that present themselves all around you.

About the author:
Shifrah lives in Tallahassee, FL with her husband, four children, two cats, and dog. In the midst of mothering and writing, she enjoys reading, lifestyle photography, sewing, going to the beach, and documenting it all in pocket scrapbooks. She drinks her coffee black. 

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