In his 5 years of life, my son has only been away from us for a few hours at a time (with the exception of a few trips). He’s never been used to being away from mom, dad, and brother all day, every day. Needless to say, the transition to Kindergarten isn’t easy. He loves it, and we are so happy for him and all the things he’s learning. But it’s hard being away from him for such long stretches on a regular basis! It’s easy to feel like we are missing out on time with him.
That’s why we decided to be more intentional about spending quality time with kids. To make it special. In some ways, the transition into school life has actually made us spend more time with him, because we’re being intentional and thinking about it.
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Maybe you’re in the same boat. You are missing out on quality time with kids and you want to make the time you have count BIG. Below you’ll find 10 ways to be intentional about the quality time you spend with your child, to make even better memories, and make less time count for more.
10 Quality Time With Kids Ideas for Hectic School Days
1. Read together.
It’s a school requirement for us to read to our son every day, and I’m SO glad. We had already started reading the Boxcar children series, have recently added Harry Potter and the Famous Five series. Reading together is such a cool bonding experience and fun way to use your imagination together. Tell me your child’s favorite book series in the comments. I’m open to suggestions!
2. Family devotionals.
Nightly devos are something our family has treasured for a couple of years now. Admittedly, after our move this summer, we’ve gotten away from doing it on a daily basis. Hopefully this new school routine will help get us back on track. It’s a great time to talk about what happened during the day and what you are thankful for.
3. Go on walks together.
Last week, my oldest and I decided to take an impromptu walk under the stars, and what an experience! It was the highlight of my week. I also love going on morning walks with my youngest son after big brother goes to school. Walking gives us a great chance to connect and talk about whatever is going on in our lives and enjoy the beauty of creation.
4. Eat dinner early.
Since we have an earlier bedtime with school starting, we decided to move dinner up an hour in the evening. Instead of 6:00, we aim to eat at 5:00, which makes such a difference. It feels like we are gaining a whole hour of playtime in the evening, which is more enjoyable for everyone.
5. Limit “extra” activities.
It’s a tough call to make, but scheduling fewer after-school activities can really help increase the quality time you have with your child. This year, we opted not to do elementary sports since we have just moved and we want to be able to have more downtime together. Plus, he’s only in Kindergarten. There is plenty of time for him to do sports in the years ahead. Now we’ll be able to have more fun family outings instead of racing to practices and games.
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6. Family movie night.
This is a simple one, but so fun! Last night we watched SING together and had a blast laughing and dancing. Trying to do this once a week is a fun tradition to start.
7. Go for ice cream.
Again, something small that means so much to your child. Having a treat now and then “just because”, or as a reward for something good they did, makes them feel special. There’s an ice cream truck in our neighborhood, and last Thursday you could see us running down the street, chasing the truck and waving. Our kids loved their first ice cream truck experience 🙂
8. Parent-child “dates.”
From time to time, we enjoy spending one-on-one moments with each child on a special outing. For example, this spring my son and I went flower shopping and he helped me plant the flowers we chose in our flowerbeds. Black-eye Susans have now become “our” flower, and Gabriel even drew one for me as a special towel keepsake. Other ideas are shopping together, visiting the library, going out to eat… the possibilities are endless.
9. Cook together.
This is something my kids love to help me do, and I love that they are learning a life skill. We have made some great memories cooking together, especially Mac-n-cheese and chocolate chip cookies. It also provides the perfect treat to add to their lunchbox.
10. Play together.
It’s been easy the past few years to just let my boys do their own thing, because we were always together. I wish I had spent more time playing with them. Now, I’m planning to do just that. Last week we got this Lego table for our boys, and we plan to get plenty of use out of it. Family game nights are also a great idea. Our favorites right now are Pie Face and UNO. Such awesome memories!
Funny enough, after implementing these ideas and being intentional about our quality time, I feel even closer to my child than before school began and we had boatloads of time together. When you have fewer hours to spend, it can be a blessing because you make the ones you have special.
Now it’s your turn: Try implementing a couple of these quality time with kids ideas into your routine this week. See how it enriches your relationship with your little one!
I’d love to hear from you: How do you make after-school time with your child extra-special?