Don’t Just "Watch" Your Kids Spend "Time" With Them

So many of us lead busy lives, especially those of us who are also raising families. Finding time for quality family activities can be difficult, and for parents who have endless chores, household tasks and other errands to run while also raising children, its even more difficult. Often, parents delegate the task of “watching the kids” between one another, and occasionally older children, so that everything can get done while the smaller kids are still looked after. But “watching” your kids is different than spending time with them, so how can you create a better balance with all of your responsibilities while also allotting for family time and making sure that the children are well-behaved and safe?

Finding time to spend with your family can be a struggle, but it is also one of those things that you will regret missing out on. As kids grow older, their interests change and sooner or later, they grow up fast and move out on their own. Sure, it is the responsibility of a parent to ensure that their kids and their family are provided for, but it is also important to spend time with them when you can as well.

It can be difficult to find time to spend together, but there are some ways in which you can incorporate your errands and life’s other tasks with spending quality time with your kids.

Cook together. Cooking together has shown to have many positive benefits for both parents and children alike. Asking your child to read off ingredients and instructions to you while you prepare a recipe can help to engage their reading and comprehension skills. When kids have a hand in the meals that they eat, they are more likely to try new foods, especially vegetables or healthier dishes, which kids are notorious for being reluctant to try. It also provides you and your child with a wealth of quality memories that you will share forever.

Eat together. Sharing meals is also important. Studies have shown that there are plenty of advantages to spending at least one meal with your entire family on a regular basis where everyone sits down together, talks, and spends time together. Not only does this allow you to spend some quality time together, but it provides you with a time in which you can discuss what’s going on in your lives, the neighborhood, or even the world, and it is a routine that can be incredibly beneficial to the overall foundation of your family, too.

Play! The idea that parents need to “watch” their children can oftentimes put a negative lens over the notion of parenting. “Watching” your kids makes your responsibility as a parent more akin to babysitting, which is not what a parent should do. Sure, there will be times where you need to complete a task or run errands while your children are around and you will need to keep an eye on them in order to make sure that they are okay, but labeling the act of being an active parent as “watching” kids can be detrimental. Try to take some time to get down on the floor next to your child and play with what they’re playing. Play a game, read a book, put on a play, or even watch their favorite show with them, while asking them questions about their favorite character or favorite part of the episode along the way.

There are ways in which you can be an active parent instead of being a passive one. When you can, try to incorporate your children into your tasks, such as cooking or cleaning, and make sure that you spend some time playing with them and learning about their interests. Even fleeting moments can be meaningful, and these moments can certainly add up and grow even more meaningful over time.