If you feel like you are ‘all work and no play’ these days, you’re not alone. A chart from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows how employed persons ages 25 to 54, who live in households with children under 18, spent spent an average of 8.7 hours working or in work-related activities, 7.7 hours sleeping, 2.6 hours doing leisure and sports activities, and 1.3 hours caring for others, including children. With so much going on, how can we really maximize the time we are spending engaging with our kids, especially those parents who are flying solo? Here are five ways to spend quality time with your kids:
Have a movie night at home.
Let your kids pick the movie (or sneak in one of your favorites from ‘back in the day’) and gather supplies for a kid-approved snack, like ice cream sundaes or anything else you have around the house. Tired of the collection at your house and need movie ideas? Check out CommonSenseMedia.com for reviews of family-friendly movies.
Before bed, on the weekend, during a rainstorm… whenever! Don’t have an enthusiastic reader in your family? According to ReadingRockets.org, sometimes it takes just one wonderful book to turn a kid into a reader. View themed booklists, author interviews, and award-winning books at the Reading Rockets web site, then head to your local library.
Institute a “family day” and eat dinner with your children.
With schedules being as tight as ever, it’s not always possible to eat together all of the time; however, even one meal a week can be meaningful for all involved. Show interest in your kids’ world by starting a conversation that will provoke more than one-word answers.
Cook or bake together.
Working in the kitchen, just like school sports, teaches kids teamwork and organizational skills; ask your kids to help by tearing lettuce for a salad, measuring flour for cake, or cracking eggs for breakfast. Cooking builds confidence, self-esteem, and encourages creativity, so let them choose recipes from time-to-time. One of the best food blogs is The Pioneer Woman Cooks, a site written by Ree Drummond, where she posts step-by-step photos of all the dishes she prepares.
Have a photo scavenger hunt.
You can do this around the house or while you are out on the town. Download and use the checklist from CreatingKeepsakes.com for the top ten photos to take each month – or make up your own list!
In the comments, tell us what you’ve done with your kids.