Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of daily life, but here are some easy ways to spend quality time with your kids and why it’s important!
What is quality time?
Quality time (or “one on one” or “special” time) is time spent when you:
- are fully present with your child
You are not on your phone or computer or thinking about your to-do list or daydreaming about something else.
- make your child feel important and loved
Remember how you feel when someone special takes time to be fully present to you and listen to and engage with you? It’s the same for your kids!
This is best when you are able to spend quality time with each child individually for 10-15 minutes a day.
Why you need quality time with your kids
Remember again that feeling you have when you spend time with someone who is fully present to you while you are there. They make an effort to be with you, listen, and engage.
This is important for your kids because they need to feel that connection with you! This helps your kids mature and grow, develop self-esteem and confidence, and learn to manage their emotions.
Related: Raising emotionally intelligent kids
Quality time helps you:
- Bond with your kids.
- Fill up their love tank.
Often kids react poorly when they feel disconnected with you. Filling up their love tank by one-on-one time can help reduce poor behavior due to seeking attention.
- Build confidence in them.
When they feel loved and connected to you, they will grow in confidence.
- Show they are important.
- Get to really know them.
The other day, I asked my 4-year-old how she knows I love her, and she delightfully responded: “When you act silly with me!” (I admit, I’m often a no-nonsense get things done person, but I do try to lighten up and get silly now and then.)
Remember, having quality time with your kids does not mean you need to spend every waking moment engaging with them. This just means finding a way to spend focused, engaged time with each one on a daily basis (as much as possible).
Here are some ideas for easy ways you can spend one-on-one quality time with each of your kids:
- read a special book with each child
- have one child help you cook dinner (alternate nights or have one help with breakfast and one with dinner)
- paint nails
- bake cookies
- play a favorite game (board game or other games like hopscotch, hide and seek, marbles, etc.)
- have a tea party
- color, draw, do artwork or crafts
- dress up (pick out each other’s clothes)
- dance to a silly song
- do chores together (cook, clean, laundry, sew, etc.)
- spent a few minutes snuggling in the morning or right before bed with each child
- have your child tell you a story
Quality time as a single parent
As a single mom, I want cheap (or free), easy ideas to connect with my 2 girls (ages 2 and 4) since I feel like I’m always busy! With 2 kids, it’s hard to make sure that I connect with each one daily, but there are several ways that I try to do this.
- Alternate activities
If one of my girls helps me cook breakfast, then I have the other help with dinner (or breakfast the next day).
- Set a timer
I sometimes set a timer (10 minutes or so) and spend time doing an activity with one girl and then the next.
- Have special “family time”
While family time is not the same as one-on-one time, it still helps build up a bond with you and your kids. (And, hey, as a single mom, I’m doing the best I can!)
Also, I often had one-on-one time with my oldest while my youngest was napping (or sleeping late in the morning).
If, like me, you’re a single mom (or dad) of multiple kids, and you are struggling to find time each week, here are some easy (and cheap!) ways you can spend quality time with your kids all together as a family:
20 ideas for quality time as a family
- Take a class together
My girls and I took a child’s cooking class together and they LOVED it.
- Go see a play together (local theaters are the best!)
- Go to the museum or zoo (most museums have free days once a month. We get free passes through our library.)
- Have a family dance party
- Have a movie night (with popcorn!)
Saturday is movie night in our house and my kids definitely remind me about it each week!
- Have a pajama party and sleep in the living room (or in a tent in your yard!)
- Have a picnic (indoor or outdoor)
- Go somewhere local (library, park, beach, community center, museum)
- Let your kids come up with some ideas! (My oldest always has all kinds of interesting ideas for fun activities!)
- Do a craft
- Create an art project
- Build something (blocks, Legos, a castle out of cardboard boxes)
- Repair an item in your home (My girls and I sew and fix things together often. I always let them help or watch me repair items or work on projects.)
- Play instruments together or make up a song
- Explore – go on a scavenger hunt together. (If your kids are old enough, let them create a scavenger hunt!)
- Run errands
- Go for a nature walk
- Write letters together
- Visit a pet store (my girls love doing this!)
If you are a busy working mom, a stay at home mom, or a single mom, don’t stress about spending one-on-one quality time with your kids. Make an effort to get some time in with your kids and do your best. Try some of these simple, cheap activities and most of all make it fun for you and your kids! What do you do to make one-on-one time with your kids free and fun? Share your tips below.