The days of housewives and lazy weekends in the garden are almost extinct. Most parents that I know these days need the double income and spend their weekends doing shopping and housework and catching up on other personal stuff that doesn’t fit in to their 8-5 working schedule. And then you have people like me telling you to spend quality time with your kids; that they need your presence and your full attention in order to blossom into the awesome human beings they were meant to become.
So how do you fit it all in??
Well, everyone’s schedules are different, but here are some ideas to get you going…
Firstly, it really isn’t about the amount of time you spend with your kids, but the quality of your attention when you do. So my first suggestion would be to find a gap in your schedule (preferably daily if you can) even if it is only 5 minutes where your child has your undivided attention – no phones, computers, laptops, or mental distractions.
If you’re even finding that difficult, find ways to double up on or cut back on some of the things you need to do in a day. Little things, when added up, can make a big difference:
- Try having a Stinky Friday where the kids don’t have to bath. You’ll be surprised how much time this opens up and the kids generally love it!
- Try cooking in batches so that you make enough for two or even three meals and then eat leftovers the next night or freeze some meals for later in the week.
- Allow the little ones to sometimes go to school in their pyjamas, or even have them sleep in a tracksuit and just get up and go in the morning.
- Make lunch boxes and lay out breakfast things the night before so that the mornings can be slower and allow for some time to connect.
- Cut back on emailing, Facebook and BBM time – it’s great to connect but it doesn’t need to be every 5 minutes!
Another wonderful way to spend time with your kids and do get everything done is to get them to help you. Most little ones love to be included in cooking and hanging washing and gardening and fixing the car and other household “chores”. Involving your children from a young age gives them a sense of significance in the family. Just make sure that you bring a sense of fun and presence to whatever you are doing – remember that they learn from you which things are a drag to do and which are enjoyable. There is nothing inherently painful about washing dishes or folding laundry – this is a learned attitude so help them to learn a good one and you may find many enjoyable moments spent with your child while things still get done.
And finally, find solace in the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of other busy parents out there in the same situation. Just do the best that you can!