spending time with kids

11 ways to win back more time to spend with your kids

In the world of social media comparison, hashtags like #parentguilt have become prevalent as we share the aftermath of the lockdown and try to get our lives back to normal. But as we juggle everything from our busy schedules to mealtimes, we are all under increasing pressure to fit everything in with our children. So, how can you win back ways to spend time with your child? We have a few simple tips that might help.

Stop the parent guilt

The first thing to do is to try your best to stop the associated guilt that comes with being a parent. It’s an unnecessary worry and stress that does not help anyone, least of all you. The reality of bringing up children is that it is hard. You contend with lack of sleep, the ever-changing environment, and subsequent adapting that comes with it. Then there is the financial pressure, and the sometimes lack of adult company. It is a lot for an individual to take on board. Remember – you are only one person, and your own needs must be met for the good ship ‘Parenthood’ to set sail.

Working nine to five

As a working parent, you might find that you have less time with your child than a stay-at-home parent. But remember that providing for your child financially is a huge parental check, there is also the fact that thriving in your career is a wonderful feeling, and it is okay to enjoy going to work, (Remember, no #parentguilt here). Make sure you have healthy boundaries with your job and switch off when you are not on the clock. Read your employee handbook to find out your rights. For example, some employees might allow you more flexibility with your time or offer the opportunity to work from home.

You cannot pour from an empty cup

Make sure you have some ‘me time’ and periods away from your children to nurture your mental health. Try meditation with an app like Headspace. Studies report meditation helps alleviate anxiety and depression levels and improves focus, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.

Time is precious, so work out when you are likely to be most relaxed. If you over stretch yourself, you are potentially setting yourself up to fail.

Communication is key

If you are feeling the pressure, speak to your partner, friends, or family. The key is to agree you how you can best support each other. Include family and friends in this conversation – a burden shared is a burden halved. You may even open the conversational floodgates, leading to a healthy connection with each other as you share the pressures of modern life. Find where your partner, family or friends can make sure your needs are met in areas where it can help your child thrive.

spending time with kids

Remember: it takes a village to raise a child

It is no coincidence that the internet is full of chat groups for parents. Mums, think about joining a parenting forum like NetMums or follow a Mummy Blogger like Giovanna Fletcher. Dads, the group Dadvengers or blog ThisDadCan is ideal for ideas and support. This should keep you grounded and help you realise that you are not alone in your thoughts, worries and feelings.

Teach your child that it is okay to talk

Speak to your child. Without overburdening them, let them know you would like to spend more time with them and ask them to help you draw up a plan. Together you could create a ‘wish list’ of places to visit, or activities you would both like to try.

Keeping the conversation going

Whatever the subject, joining in on your child’s conversation is a fantastic way to spend time with them and a way to be in their world. Their viewpoint is different to ours, so allow them to take the lead and let you in. Setting aside some time to chat with your child before they nod off to sleep is a parenting win. Often children are at their chattiest at the end of the day. You may notice things that interest your child so you can incorporate them into your plan to spend more time together.

Set a weekly play date

It is a well-known fact that children thrive on routine and familiarity, so setting a weekly play date could be an ideal way to build in some quality time. Bring your child into a discussion about things you enjoyed as a child, you could try these activities together, adding in some your child would like to try. Book a cinema trip, or museum visit – start a discussion afterwards, encourage healthy debate, you do not have to like the same topics. Get out in nature – this will do you both the world of good. There are plenty of local parks and walks to enjoy, many with associated historical facts.

Do not disturb

Probably one of the most principal factors in this ever-connected world is to make sure the time you spend together is uninterrupted. Have a set time each day with no devices, or screen time for either of you. What other ways could you introduce a ‘no device’ ban? Could you leave the house without your phone? Even for a short trip. If you simply cannot, and it’s understandable, make sure you allocate a little time without a device. Plan something fun, play board games, or play cards; some subtle addition and subtraction will keep both of your minds fresh! Do a puzzle together.

Family dinner time

Dinnertime provides a fantastic opportunity for togetherness by its very nature. You can involve your child in the cooking process. Can your child choose what is on the menu and help you shop for the ingredients? This responsible role could extend to other chores around the house, like keeping their room tidy, and putting toys away. Could they prepare some vegetables or set the table? Make sure you sit without screens and enjoy the food and company!

Finally, share your voice with us

We work with brands who are looking for valuable insights on how to support people just like you. These brands are considerate enough to put their time and resources to making your life as a busy parent easier and the awareness you could provide is appreciated. You will be part of a community of people just like you, looking for answers to change.

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