I’ve heard it said spending just 8 minutes of your day with (each of your) children is sufficient to sustain and build healthy relationships.

I’m thinking “just eight minutes? I spend heaps more time than that…”

Then I really start to think about whether that is true or not. I spend a lot of time making them food, getting them sorted to leave the house in the morning, asking them to do things, driving them places in the car… Do I really spend at least 8 minutes every day, doing something fun or with no agenda, just playing or ‘being’, with EACH of my three children – or even one of them!?! Yikes! If I were honest, it would be a rare day that ALL THREE of my kids each get that time. Even being aware of the importance of quality time on a regular basis doesn’t guarantee my kids get top priority (because, Life).

There ARE ways to carve out that eight-ish minutes a day for your kids. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but with the school holidays around the corner, hopefully you can use these ideas OR they can inspire you to adapt your everyday routine to find some quality moments with your babies.

  • Change up the morning or afternoon pick up/drop off routine. Can you walk/ride together with the kid/s some of the way?
  • Pack some snacks, take a detour on the way home and stop at a park for afternoon tea and a play together (no phones allowed Mum/Dad!).
  • Do a puzzle, or play a quiet game instead of bedtime stories. Some peaceful playtime together after dinner can be a nice way for everyone to wind down. (Planning this ‘date’ can be motivation for kids to adhere to bath and dinnertime routines.)
  • Breakfast date – for the ‘early-rising’ child (and ‘morning person’ parent). Sit and have your first cuppa of the morning with whoever is awake. There’s something about the first moments of the day…
  • Let children choose the dinner menu and invite them to help prepare the meal and serve. Life skills + conversation = winning!
  • Serve lunch/dinner as a picnic (indoors or outdoors, whatever you have room for).
  • Spend time sharing your ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ moments of the week, perhaps around the dinner table or at bedtime.
  • Play music and throw a family dance party – silly, energetic fun!

Finding some space in the day, to intentionally connect, can be done. Taking those few moments (that are already there waiting to be found), will create fresh opportunities to relate, for children to share about their day, to open up about things that may be causing anxiety OR something amazing they’ve learned.

Feeding and clothing our kids is important but these things are often taken for granted by our offspring (I mean, that’s our ‘job’ as parents, right?), and we can become bitter, feeling unappreciated while all our efforts go unnoticed. While I’m a big believer in educating the kids at an early age about what it takes to run a household and get involved (age-appropriately), ‘time-out together’ is equally important.

Take those moments to stop and invest in the person they are – and will become with your help – and remember how precious they are to you.

You may also like to read:

Connect with your kids with nature bonding activity

Angels and Demons- Shape Shifting Behaviour in our Kids

Playtime rules 

5 things to let go of in parenting that will save your sanity 

You’re doing a great job