As much as you may hate to admit it, kids grow up alarmingly fast. It isn’t long before that precious bundle you first held in your arms reaches shoulder height. Before you know it, they’ll be graduating from high school and moving on to bigger adventures.
Even when life is hectic, it’s important to prioritize time with your kids while they’re still young. It can be not easy, even when you want to. Work, chores, and other obligations often get in the way. However, you can do a few things to maximize and make the most of your family time.
1. Chat on the Phone
Whether you’re staying late at the office or stuck in traffic, you can still spend time with your kids. Today’s technology allows you to talk face-to-face (or face-to-screen) with others wherever you are. These little conversations over the phone can go a long way, so take advantage of them. Hearing your kid’s voice or seeing their face can brighten your day and theirs. These chats will also keep you up-to-date on their lives, like knowing what happened at summer school that day.
If your kids are out and about a lot, it may be tough to connect with them. It might be time to get them a phone. While giving your child a phone for the first time might feel overwhelming, it might also help you bond. Plus, there’s technology to protect your kids and keep them from becoming tech-addicted. One such form of this technology is a safe phone for kids. With these new devices, you can talk to your kids wherever, whenever.
2. Make a Meal Together
Cooking can feel like a chore, but it can become a fun activity with your kids by your side. Pick a simple meal to prepare together, like personal pizzas. Let the children experiment with toppings and teach them the basics of cooking. You all will have a delicious meal, and your kids will learn new culinary skills.
Consider incorporating this activity into a routine. Cooking together weekly or monthly will bring you all closer together. If the kids start getting a bit bored, you can spice it up more.
Pretend that you’re on a cooking show. Make it a challenge by only using what’s already in the pantry — you’ll have fun and save money.
You all need to eat. So instead of cooking by yourself, invite your kids to help.
3. Camp Out at Home
Summer is finally here, which means the kids are ready for vacation. Not everyone has time for a trip, though, and not everyone can afford one. If time and money are short, take your family on a camping trip to the backyard.
Take a night to unplug all of your devices, set up a tent, and enjoy nature together. There are plenty of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy through the night. If you have a family of crafters, get supplies so that the kiddos can decorate your tent. If your kids are brave, share a bone-chilling ghost story. The possibilities of what you can do on your backyard getaway are endless.
You don’t have to travel to a new city to create memories with your family. A backyard campout is a great way to bond, and it’s fun for any age.
4. Take a Walk
A walk around your neighborhood or a park is a great way to get active. However, family walks don’t only have to be about getting daily exercise. Turn the walk into a scavenger hunt. Or teach your kids about preserving nature, and pick up trash along the way.
If your family is new to taking walks, remember that walking is actually a learned activity. Instead of tackling a mile-long path in the park, walk around your block for 15 minutes. As your family gets more comfortable, work your way up to longer and more challenging trails.
When you and your kids are busy, a walk is a great way to spend time with one another. The activity helps everyone stay healthy, and it’ll bring you closer to your children.
5. Relax With a Movie Night
By the end of your hectic week, relaxation is a top priority. Thankfully, you can recharge and spend time with your kids by having a movie night. It’s an idea you can reuse again and again because kids rarely get sick of movies.
Take turns choosing the film — each week, a different family member gets to pick. This way, everyone’s invested. Even if they don’t like the movie this Friday, their turn will come up soon enough.
On your family movie night, you can also do more than watching the movie. You can share trivia. Do your kids pick the same movie again and again? Have them dress up as their favorite character.
You can also include fun snacks. Try different popcorn combinations. Pick foods that relate to the movie. Cookies decorated like characters are always a big hit.
When you’re tired, you may be tempted to put each kid in front of a different device. Then they can watch whatever they want, and you can put your feet up. But long-term, you’ll all be happier if you turn this time into time together.
6. Read Together
Kids are never too old for a good story. Reading together can help your kids do better in school, encouraging them to be creative.
If your kids are young, take at least a few minutes every day to read to them. This can seem like an impossible task if you have to work during their bedtime. However, you can make reading fit your schedule. Maybe the early afternoon is best for you. Or maybe you have time to read to them at breakfast instead.
If one of your kids is learning to read, you have even more options. Ask them to read to you and their siblings while you’re driving them to soccer practice.
Your kids may be old enough to read their own chapter books. However, that doesn’t mean that reading time can’t be family time. Consider doing a mini book club with them.
Even when you’re really busy, you can squeeze in a few minutes to ask the kids questions about the books. You can even have the kids come up with questions. And since the chapters in books for kids are short, you won’t have to spend too much time on prep. After a couple of minutes of skimming the story, you’ll be ready for book club.
These are just a few ways to spend more time with the kids. Get creative, and you’ll think of more. You know your kids best, so think about what matters to them. Make a family activity based on what they love. This will let them know that you care and you’re there for them.
You don’t have to take hours out of your day to make lasting memories with your kids. Sometimes all you need is 30 minutes, a snack or three, and a listening ear.