Tips for spending quality time with your children
Now the festive season is just around the corner, the best gift we can give our children is to spend quality time with them.
Christmas, New Year and Three Kings are days full of magic, especially for little ones. And for adults too! They take us back to our own childhood and remind us of happy times.
Perhaps that’s why any parent wants these celebrations to be unforgettable and for their children to remember them, just like they did, from their childhood. But, beyond these gifts, what usually remains etched in people's memory are moments that are experienced: family gatherings, games, anecdotes....these are the type of things that they will remember as adults and that we should encourage.
Why is spending time with our children important?
Time is not bought or sold, only we have the power to offer it. Our availability and awareness is the most important thing in spending quality time with our children. Reading a book in 2 minutes while checking your mobile phone with one eye isn’t enough. Dedicating time to them is being in the “here and now”, being fully aware of what we are doing and how we are impacting their happiness.
To do so, we should stop being in a rush. Quite often, day-to-day obligations make us forget about the most precious moments, those that will never return if we don't experience them now. And if a lack of time is the problem, remember that your children will be grateful for quality over quantity.
How to spend quality time with family?
We often become aware of the time we haven’t spent with our children and our loved ones when it's already too late. Spending time on people you love makes you feel good. Forget about stress and worries for a moment and focus on these tips:
- Start the day calmly. Wake the children up with love and you’ll see how you start the day in a different mood.
- Avoid distractions during lunches and evening meals. Take advantage of that time to talk, to discuss how the day went, etc. Communication is key. Children feel valued when we listen to them and they see that we worry about them.
- Go on family trips: nature is a perfect setting to switch off from the day-to-day routine and connect with the people you love most.
- When you are with the children, switch off your mobile phone and avoid any distractions. They absorb our attention and we don’t fully enjoy the present moment.
- Play with them; it’s that simple. Board games, painting, fancy dress...whatever you can think of! Dare to be a child again.
- When it comes to going to bed, invent a small ritual. Get into bed with your child and tell them a story. It is a brief period of intimacy that comforts and creates a close connection between parents and children. You can also sing them a song, tickle them or smother them with kisses. They will be unforgettable moments for both of you.
- Kiss, cuddle and caress! Children need physical contact, especially when they are little. You show them your love by kissing, hugging and caressing them. In fact, the benefits of hugs are enormous and stimulate the production of our neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin, which will make them feel relaxed and enhance the trust and emotional connection.
- Look them in the eyes when you talk to them. Visual contact captures children’s attention and enables a more personal connection to be formed.
- Ask them their opinion about everyday things that affect the family or them as individuals. Even though they are young and don’t have much life experience, this makes them feel valued and improves their self-esteem.
- Always celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. And don’t forget to highlight the effort they make and encourage them to keep trying hard. It is essential for their development.
- Don’t forget about the rules. Yes, although the idea is to have fun and share time with them, there are certain rules and limits that should be met. Indeed, always remember to punish the poor behaviour, not the child. To do so, you should always show them love, but show them what they have not done well so they try not to repeat it.