How many times has your child asked you to play or spend time with them in the last one or two weeks? Can you remember what your response was? If it went something like: “I’m busy, some other time,” or you completely ignored them as usual – and your child has gotten used to the fact that Mum and Dad are too busy to play with me – then I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not doing well for your child.
Quality time, no matter how little, is far better than no time spent with your kids at all. Perhaps, your reality is an extremely hectic work schedule. But have you ever thought about creating routines and using them as bonding time?
How so, you may ask?
Well, routines are a part of life and can be used as a tool to bond with your children. Routines are how regular activities are organised. Time spent completing routine tasks such as cooking, laundry, ironing, gardening, even getting into bed every night, can also be used to spend time with your kids in a fun way.
Routine tasks may be done regularly, daily, weekly or monthly. But when it comes to using it as a time to bond with kids, I advise that routine tasks are done a minimum of twice a month.
There are several routines you can use to create bonding time with your little one, including:
Bonding with your kids just before bedtime is a great way to know them and learn everything they were up to during the day. You can spend time to read, sing or chat about their day, even if it is for fifteen minutes. Trust me, your kids will look forward to it.
One on one activity
This is specific time spent with a child. For example, if you have two children and one goes to soccer practice, you can take the other one for a lunch date or a day out to bond with them.
While doing homework, you can use the time to catch up and ask your kids how their day went.
Words of affirmation routine
A great way to boost your child’s confidence is to teach them words of affirmation everyday. You can do this by speaking positive words to them daily. It could be in the morning on your way to drop them off at school, or at bedtime.
If you love to stay fit, you can incorporate kid friendly exercises into your weekend routine. You can go swimming, take long walks, play golf, ride a bike or watch fun exercise videos on YouTube.
Cooking time routine
Turn meal preparation time into catch up time with your older kids. You can involve younger kids in minor tasks in the kitchen, but keep safety in mind.
School runs routine
If you have to drop off and pick up your kids at school every day, you can use this time to gist with them and ask how their day went. You can also use the time to pray, encourage, sing and tell them interesting stories.
Shopping time routine
Want to incorporate a routine your children might actually enjoy? Take them shopping with you. Shopping can be fun, but ensure that you teach your children boundaries and self control. I know many parents avoid this, because some kids can be difficult to manage; but it is one of the best routines you can use to teach kids discipline and contentment.
You can also give small rewards; for example you can promise your child a snack of their choice if they behave while shopping.
Want to know why you should bond with your kids using routines? Here are some benefits of routines in parent-child bonding:
- It shows your kids you enjoy spending time with them, and you’re not trying to avoid them with the excuse of always being busy.
- Your kids have something to look forward to every day or every wee, as the case may be.
- It is a fun way to teach principles and habits you want them to inculcate without judging them.
- It improves accessibility and openness.
- It improves parent-child connection.
- It makes kids more independent, e.g bonding through chores or cooking.
- It encourages and creates a safe place for kids to bear their minds.
- It builds confidence, self worth, and may reduce the influence of peer pressure.
- It creates room for a two-way connection. It is not centred on the parent, therefore it improves communication.
Want to know other fun ways to bond with your child?
- Learn a song or dance together.
- Watch a movie or their favourite TV programs at home together.
- Study the bible and pray together.
- Read bedtime stories.
- Build lego together with your toddlers.
- Play games together.
- Ask questions (gist time).
- Look at old pictures together (trust me, this is so much fun).
- Colour books together.
- Sing your favourite songs together when you go.
These days, we are so busy and overwhelmed with work and making money, forgetting the more important things that truly matter. You need to be intentional at creating these special bonding time(s), even if you can only manage one or two activities as a way of improving bonding time with your child.
Remember, you are responsible for how you spend your time. Time is life, and as you get older, your kids get older too. You don’t want to miss out on spending quality time with your kids because you were spending time doing things that won’t matter five to ten years down the line.
Now, ask yourself what really matters. Many people say their kids, so walk the talk and start to create time for them today. Do you have any routine activities you do with your kids? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.