Since adding office management to my well stocked hat closet, I’ve been short on time yet plentiful in my desire to live out the miniature moments that I have to the max with my children! Maintaining healthy emotional connections like those I spoke about in Forever Saturday are essential. Yet, the challenge becomes increasingly difficult the older your kids get. Therefore, I ‘d like to treat you to a few tricks that will sweeten the most dismal of days without adding more to your over filled plate!
Time Stretchers That Can Be Enjoyed With Only 15 minutes to Spare:
1. Personalize familiar stories or songs by changing the words or the names in the song or story to your child’s name and watch the creativity soar!
2.Give them a job to do working alongside you. Set them up with some office space of their own right beside you and give them some “busy work” like organizing papers in alphabetical order. The important thing here is making them feel that they are doing something important with you and for you!
3.Keep a hidden stash of surprise treats to share. When do kids not love a junk food surprise? Actually, it doesn’t have to even be food, it could be stickers or letting the kids apply a few removable tattoos to your biceps that you can show off to all your friends at the office or PTA Meeting the following day!
4. Draw discussion questions from a hat. If , for instance, you have 3 children, take 3 pieces of scrap paper and scribble a question down and whoever draws that question, must be the first to answer!
5.Turn on some tunes and put on those dancing shoes. Kids love music and movement, and it’s a great stress reliever too. Besides wouldn’t they just get a kick out of you doing the mash potato to a Justin Bieber song?!
Time Stretchers That Can Be Enjoyed Within 30 minutes (Or Longer If You’d Like):
1. Divide and conquer. Only this time, your purpose is to take one child with you, and leave the rest behind in order to get a little one on one time. The rule is that you must add at least 15 minutes on to any task per child that you have to take with you during a shopping trip! When there’s only one, the likelihood that your plans will be sabotaged greatly decreases.
2. Play a game or two. Zap boredom with a quick game of fish or a made up game like family charades in which everyone has to take turns guessing which member of the family you are acting out. Of course, that kids need to first be reminded that they must be kind and thoughtful with their choice of expressions.
3.Create something in the kitchen. Who says a food recipe has to actually require cooking? Do something simple together like making hot cocoa, tea, smores, or ice cream sundaes. If you want to stay away from the sweets, then try a frozen smoothie treat or make a dip for fruits or vegetables.
4.Let the artist in everyone come alive. Origami, paper airplane making, coloring, drawing/stenciling all lead to great fun with little effort.
5. Do a puzzle together. Puzzles are a favorite of mine because you can always get a good conversation started while you’re working. It gets the brain moving, allows everyone to work together, and it gets everyone talking!
Like many homes, ours included, the dining area is the mecca center for socializing and catching up with one another. However, we don’t just gather around the dining room table to eat. This is also a great sharing space to do many activities including some of the ones mentioned above.
One problem that I often have is that when I finally do have a moment to spare, it’s hard to clear my over worked brain so that I can maximize my down time. So, if you’re short on creativity along with time, make this list a starting point and soon you too will be thinking outside of the box!
When you begin combining what is required with what is entertaining, you’ll find that it’s rather easy to shower your kids with personal attention while at the same time, you’re getting ahead in the accomplishments of your day. The key word here is the experience of “sharing.” So try a few of these tricks this week and put quality time to the stretch! After tucking your kids into bed, you’ll find them smiling the night away as the seeds of delight that you have planted sprout away!