Dr Anthony P Witham once said that “children spell love T-I-M-E”. Whilst this is true, T-I-M-E is a constant battle face by many working parents. We know that spending quality with our children is essential for their development and their happiness. As a working parent, balancing family time with work is no easy task. Keeping all the proverbial balls in the air – preparing nutritious packed lunches, doing the school run (which should be a walk, but let’s face it, getting there on time is occasionally a priority over the environment), sorting the nappy bag (anyone else have broken biscuits and a random sock in the bottom of the changing bag?), keeping up to date with current affairs (or Love Island depending on the day we’ve had) and even just going to bed at a decent hour. Add to this the pressure to be the perfect parent, and life can get a little fraught. So how can parents maintain a positive work-life balance which enables them to work full time, whilst still having time to dedicate to their children and find a little free time for themselves occasionally?
Quality time does not always equate to long periods of time together, quality over quantity is often where the balance can be found. Finding those snippets of time throughout the day where we can really focus on our little superstars will enable us to feel like we’ve got it all together.
Here are 5 easy ways in which you can spend more quality time with your little one:
- Get your child involved in your favourite hobbies – Do you like knitting? Sit in front of the fire and knit a warm and cosy blanket together. Or maybe you’re a fitness fanatic who loves sport? Take your child out for a run around at the park. Get your child involved in what you like to do; there’s nothing greater than seeing your child become engrossed in something you also love doing. It also kills two birds with one stone!
- Carry out tasks together – Children love offering a helping hand. If you have a task to carry out which your child can help you with, let them. This in turn leads to your child feeling a sense of achievement, but more importantly, it’s a special time for you both to bond. Do you need to clean your living room? Ask your little one to help you pick up toys or even fluff the cushions. Prepping dinner? Why not ask them to chop the carrots? Who needs perfectly sized vegetables anyway!
- Find the snippets of time, the little nooks and crannies in the day where you can completely focus on your child – Maybe it’s 10 minutes while dinner is cooking, and you can play a quick game of Uno. Or perhaps while waiting for an older sibling to come out of school you can enjoy a game of Eye Spy together. In these precious moments of time, lose the phone emails and enjoy your child’s company.
- Create a morning and bedtime routine – Dedicate an extra few minutes in the morning to creating a unique routine with your child. Even if it’s something as small as letting them help you with breakfast in the mornings and putting away the dishes with you before bed. A bed time story can also be a very precious time, spend 10 minutes reading their favourite story, even if you know it backwards as you’ve read the same one over and over again!
- Get creative – Children love getting creative and messy… the messier the better! Put down an old shower curtain to protect the table/floor and get creative with paints, crayons or playdoh maybe. Once you’ve finished, it’s easy to scoop it all up and pop in the bin – no drama! Not a fan of messy crafts? Take a bucket of water and paint brushes into the garden and ‘paint’ the fence and the patio. Younger children love this and when it dries, you’ll never know they’ve even been there.
With all this in mind, we know how easy it is to feel utterly overwhelmed as a working parent. At Bright Minds Daycare, we take as much of the strain as possible by offering inclusive care packages. No more getting milk and nappies ready, we take care of all of that. No more stressing over healthy and nutritious lunches, our on-site cook prepares fresh meals every day. We even have a cosy parent room where you can breast feed, make a cuppa or just take 5 minutes after a busy day before your commute home. And just remember, however you feel about the whole work-life balance, you are doing amazing!