a blog from seedling
As moms, we sometimes struggle to find meaningful moments to spend with our children. Between long work days, running households, and managing our kids’ schedules, it’s challenging to be present with them while not feeling rushed or distracted.
Emphasizing quality time over quantity helps alleviate the seemingly ever-present “mom guilt.” Even if you only have 30 minutes after dinner to spare, that's all you need to make those moments special. When you spend any time truly focused on your children, it will stand out in both your kids’ memories and your own.
1. Art Museum
Children are naturally creative, gravitating to art instinctually, expressing themselves with crayons, paint, and clay. Taking kids to a local museum at a young age is a wonderful way to spark the creativity that lies within, and to cultivate a lifelong appreciation for art. Make the gallery visit interactive by asking them to note similarities in paintings, pointing out use of color, shapes, or even brushstrokes. Talk to them about the kinds of tools and techniques the artists used to create their works. When you return home, get out the art supplies, and set them free to create their own masterpieces.
2. Say Yes
Our kids are at the mercy of our own parental agendas, more often than not. “No” is a word they hear all too regularly. Saying “yes” to your children will empower them, and validate their ideas. The next time your kids ask to go out for an ice cream cone, say yes. A quick trip to the ice cream shop is easy to squeeze in at the end of the workday, and offers an impromptu opportunity to connect with them. Sample unexpected flavors together, talk about your favorites, and share an ice-cream related story from your own childhood with them. The excitement of the outing will last much longer than the sugar rush.
3. Farmers’ Market
Look for creative ways to multi-task. Sure, we still have to run errands, but involving your kids makes the mundane seem like less of a chore — and will make them feel special to play a part in the task. Heading to the local farmers’ market can be an especially interesting outing for kids with picky eating habits. Seeing fruits and veggies stacked on farm stands is a more interesting display than the usual produce department at the grocery store, plus many of the vendors offer samples, allowing you to taste before buying.
Let your kids choose items to bring home, encouraging them to pick at least one thing they’ve never tried. Once back at home, invite them to be part of the cooking process, whether they’re peeling veggies, tearing lettuce, or stirring on the stovetop. Serving a dish at dinner that they helped bring from farm(stand) to table will give them a sense of pride, and may just motivate them to eat all their veggies. (Or so we hope!)
4. The Library
There are endless adventures and possibility within the pages of a book, so make a trip to spend a couple of hours at the library. Check the calendar for your local branch before you go. Many libraries offer weekly story hours, puppet shows, reading incentive programs with prizes upon completion, and even writing contests for the aspiring author. Wander through the stacks, and allow them to choose titles that spark their interests. Bring a few books home — a few they can read on their own and one that you can read to them, a couple of chapters per night — another way to spend meaningful time together each day. Don’t have time to make the trip? Peruse the stack of books in your own home and create a little reading nook to cuddle up together.
5. Follow Their Lead
There are days where it’s logistically unrealistic to take an outing, so in between household tasks, set aside a block of uninterrupted time to spend with your kids. Let them take the lead and decide what you’ll do together. Get down on the ground with them to play, gather sticks in the backyard, mold dinosaurs out of clay, or build a fort out of sheets and clothespins. Making adventures in your own home is free, easy, and highlights the purpose being present with your children.
What's your favorite way to carve out special family time?