Whether you're a working mom rushing home after a busy day or a stay-at-home mom with a lengthy to-do list, you probably face challenges when it comes to carving out quality time with the kids. Here, style maven Liz Lange offers some quick tips to help you find those special moments:
- While the kids are at school, try to take care of the to-do list items that don't involve them.
- When they come home, let them wind down. "My kids have spent the whole day keeping it together for their teacher, so when they get home, I don't force them into structured activity," Liz says. "I let them casually sit at the table. If I have something to do, I let them spend some time watching approved TV or videos. They need a little understimulated time."
- If you enjoy involving your kids in the cooking process (that's quality time well spent!), do it on a Sunday. Allow them to handle tasks that don't involve knives or heat. And then freeze the leftovers to serve throughout the week. During the week, don't feel that you have to prepare dinner at dinnertime. "I do all the dinner prep I can before they come home," Liz says, "so I can just heat it up when they arrive — and spend more time with them."
- Let the kids sit in the kitchen while you work. Having them do homework at the kitchen table allows you to keep them focused and allows them to ask any questions that pop up.
- Bedtime reading is a routine in many families, but it's also an ideal time to have a serious discussion. Over a bedtime snack, do some friendly probing into your child's day. You'll find that the one-word responses you got when you asked about school at 3:30 that afternoon may expand into a lengthy description of the kid who's picking on your son or the boy your daughter has a crush on once your child is snuggled under the covers. Establish a nice routine that encourages daily discussion by asking one of the following questions:
Tell me about two things you learned today.
What's the best thing and the worst thing that happened to you this week?
What's the funniest thing you saw today?