If your children go to daycare, it's important to spend quality time with your kids in the hours between dinner and bedtime. Here are a few tips for making the most of the precious hours you have with your little ones and greatly enhancing your quality of life.
Enjoy the Ride
Whether your daycare center is across the street or 30 minutes a way, use the car ride to bond with your child. Instead of turning the radio on, ask your child about his or her day. Play games like "I spy" or something similar. If your child doesn't speak, sing fun and upbeat songs to him as you make your way home.
Let Your Kid Do the Cooking
Don't plunk your child down in front of the TV while you whip up dinner. Get your kids involved in the process. Give them each a specific task to do. They'll love being able to contribute to the family meal and you'll love the experience of working with your kids.
Sit Down to Dinner
Sitting down together to enjoy a healthy meal is a great way to connect with your kids. Turn the TV off and turn your attention to your little ones. If your children are younger, play games with them as you feed them. If you children are a little older, talk to them and ask questions. Don't rush your meal. Plan to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour spending some quality time with your kids and partner.
Put the Chores on Hold
After dinner, you may be tempted to tackle the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. However, try to resist the urge to do chores until after the kids have gone to sleep. If you must tidy up, involve your kids. Try to make a game of it. See who can load the dishwasher the fastest or have a sweep off. Do anything you can to engage your kids.
Plan an Activity Each Night
Don't just sit on the couch while your children play in the next room. Plan activities that the whole family can enjoy. Take a walk, go to the park or stay in and play a board game. Structure your night so you can maximize the time you spend with your family.
Read to Your Kids
One of the easiest way to spend quality time with your kids is to read to them at bedtime. In addition to fostering a love of reading, you'll be creating lasting memories with your children. Help your kids get ready for bed and then snuggle up with them with a few stories. Don't just read the words. Engage your children. Ask questions or have them read along with you. Use this time as a teaching opportunity. And when you've finished reading to them, don't be afraid to snuggle with them for a few extra minutes.
Not every can afford to stay home with their kids during the day. That's why it's so important to make use of the brief time you have with them. Make every minute count and don't miss an opportunity to put a smile on your litttle one's face.