Parents spend a lot of their time distracted, or as I like to call it, multi-tasking. You, like me, probably do ten things at once; preparing ingredients for dinner, asking Siri to read you an email, jotting down things on the grocery list and half listening to a story about something that happened at school.
In five minutes at a time, you can maximize your relationship. You can make more of a connection with your children, change the day, the week and even the year. Here’s how to do it:
Five Minutes: Wake Up Time
In the first five minutes your child is awake, you’re setting the tone for the day. Waking kids up gently, happily, and without stress and rushing gets their day off on the right foot.
Think about that for a moment, you have an enormous impact on the result of your child’s day. You can help them to create a day with positive experiences, with a good outlook and a smile.
Try not to rush in the morning – I know it’s hard. Get up a little earlier than the kids and ready items needed for school the night before. Have easy breakfasts that the kids can grab and go, and enlist them to help you with things like locating library books, and wardrobe planning.
Wake them up five minutes earlier and have a quick chat about their plans for the day. Ask them if there is anything they’re excited about, or anything that they would like to do today. Give yourself an extra five minutes, give them an extra five minutes, it’s invaluable.
Five Minutes: After School
When the kids get home from school, there’s often a flurry of activity. It’s easy to get caught up in it. When the kids are about to arrive home from school, put away the work, put aside the tasks and focus. Focus on their day, their experiences and notice if there’s anything that they need from you.
Children are much more likely to open up if you’re focused, and completely on task. This is an essential part of the day where experiences from it are fresh in their mind, and it’s easier to have this chat if they feel you’re connecting.
Put away the devices, make a snack together, play a quick game together – just do something that means the two of you connecting for a few minutes when they get home from school, or you get home from work.
My tip? Our little kids love ‘blanket time’. When they get home from school, we have a quick snuggle and make a blanket tent, where we talk about our day. I tell them what I spent the day doing, and they do the same. Find an age appropriate way to connect, as soon as they come home from school.
Five Minutes: At Bedtime
In our house, bedtime is full on Dad and kid time. We have a routine where I get up in the morning with the kids, and Jamie does bedtime. It’s a time that he connects with each of the kids, both together and alone.
I’m always surprised when he’s finished the ten minute bedtime routine, with the information he comes down with. Usually, it’s information that I wasn’t aware of, a small happy moment in their day, or something that happened to them at school. Sometimes, it’s a funny joke, or them relaying something that we had done together.
In the past, I’ve been quick to dismiss the last five minutes at bedtime as a stalling technique (let’s face it, it often is). Despite this fact, I’ve learned to take the five minutes when it’s occasionally my turn to do bedtime, and embrace the time to learn a small fact that I may have otherwise overlooked.
How do you connect during the most important fifteen minutes of the day?