QUALITY TIME WITH KIDS
“I am bored Mumum” my 3-year-old grumbled after he had finished with coloring the last page of his drawing book. That, he didn’t want to look at his toy box again wasn’t surprising. Why would it be? It had all the obvious things in it. Things, he had played with a million times already. What he wanted was quality time with mum, so I thought for whatever goes on inside the head of a 3-year-old.
This was where I thought of giving the obvious an exciting edge. Moments later we found ourselves emptying the toy box. An hour and a half gone and we were still at it.
No, we weren’t playing. My kid had been pouring out endless stories about every toy that caught his attention, and we were caught up in our little make-believe world.
GOOD PARENTING SEEKS QUALITY TIME OVER QUANTITY
Research suggests, “amidst everyday life moments, parents can find numerous opportunities to attend to their children, connect over shared interests, and have loving, caring moments, of quality time.
A study led by Tamar-Cremer-Sadlik claims that the quiet, in-between moments of family life did as much of the real work of family bonding as any fabricated family time. It proposes that everyday activities (like household chores or running errands) may afford families quality moments, unplanned, unstructured instances of social interaction that serve the critical relationship-building functions that parents seek from quality time.
Another fascinating British study came to a similar conclusion, though it is focused on fathers. Further studies have also proved, children usually have fewer behavioral problems in school if their dads involved themselves in parenting, a factor that is way more important than the quantity of time a father and child spend together.
Research Shows Kids Need You
If it’s not the quantity of time that matters, perhaps it’s an interest in the quality of it that prompts parents to open their wallets so widely for unique experiences with their children.
When you add up all the time your kids spend at daycare, in school, with babysitters, at a camp, and otherwise occupied with activities that don’t include you, the remaining moments become especially precious. There are only 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and her leaving for college. That may sound like a lot, but how many have you already used up? If your child is five years old, 260 Saturdays are gone. Poof! And the older your kids get, the busier their Saturdays are with friends and activities. Ditto Sundays. And what about weekdays? Depending on your children’s ages and whether you work outside the home, there may be as few as one or two hours a day during the week for you to spend with them.
However, instead of worrying about how many minutes you can spend with your children each day, focus on turning those minutes into memorable moments. Parents often compensate for having such a small quantity of time by scheduling quality time, and if you do not want them to spend that afternoon watching tv which would otherwise strain their brain and mind, children can be made to do things along with parents so that they enjoy quality time together.
I have put together a list of 6 activities that we enjoy doing together as a family on weekends. These are fun and enjoyable and will add zing to some quality time spent together.
1. DIY Un-Poppable Soap Bubbles
If you have heard the, “I am bored” phrase too much already, here is something that will keep them squeaking and screaming in fun.
Believe me, when I tell you, it’s incredible because we could hardly keep ourselves away from it. Ha! It’s an excellent activity for the whole family to participate and enjoy.
You will need:
6 cups of water,1 cup of corn syrup, 2 cups of plain dish-wash soap.
Give it a good mix with a spoon or a wooden dowel, whichever is convenient.
2. Make an interactive Mathematics play session:
The range of mathematics explored during free play has always been impressive because the free game offers a rich foundation on which to build new mathematics.
How To Play:
Let them set up stands to sell toys, toffees and more. Help them to make counterfeit money from paper and let them transact. Set hourly profit counting.
Researchers point out, a play does not guarantee mathematical development, but it offers rich and exciting possibilities.
Significant benefits are more likely when parents follow up by engaging children in reflecting on and representing the mathematical ideas that have emerged in their play.
3. Indoor Games:
When the weather is bad, try playing indoor games.
Games like Tic Tac Toe, ludo, snakes, and ladders etc…teaches them simple arithmetic operations, sportsmanship, encourage good group behavior and more.
How To Play:
- Tic Tac Toe:
You can play this game using a pencil and paper. A favorite game among school kids, it is simple and loaded with fun. The game is played on a 3×3 grid square. The first person puts an ‘X’ in one of the grids and the second player puts an ‘O.’ The first player to successfully get three Xs or Os in a line (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) wins.
Join the dots:
Make a 6×6 square of dots on a page. Take turns to join dots with a line. You can join only two dots at a time. If your line completes a box, you put your initials inside it. The person with the highest number of boxes wins. Move to a bigger square, once the child gets the hang of the game.
This is similar to charades. However, the person who has to express a word or phrase needs to draw instead of acting it out.
Name, place, animal, thing:
We loved to play this game as kids of the 90s. Divide the page into four parts: Name, Place, Animal, Thing. Set a timer for a few seconds and let the child recite the alphabet silently. When the timer stops, the child says what letter he stayed at, and the players have to write down the names of a person, animal, thing and place starting with that letter.
4. DIY Veg Slice Painting:
Another exciting yet straightforward activity is to get them to paint using vegetable slices.
How To Play:
Use slices of lady’s finger, potatoes, and onions to dab paint on. Press them onto a sheet of paper.
Let dry. Now cut out circles or ovals. Stick them onto a string using some glue and hang up the garland on a spare wall in their rooms. TA DA!
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5. Storytelling Afternoon
We as kids enjoyed an afternoon of reading story books. While my 8-year-old likes to read story books; my 3-year-old likes to go through picture books with me.
Sometimes he keeps on turning the pages back for me to re-read. Boring for me. Seeking for him.
Research shows reading has many positive effects on young children, like teaching the rules of syntax, expanding children’s vocabulary and helping children bond with their parents, says Hutton.
6. Indoor Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are entertaining and they don’t have to be difficult to make.
How To Play:
You can use pillows, hula hoops, boxes, masking tape, chairs, really anything you can find.
Set them up, so kiddies have to crawl, jump, run, walk, move forward and backward, zigzag, hop on one foot, etc. Include catching and throwing with colorful balls.
Get creative, or better yet, have the kiddies get creative and help you create the course.
It’s enough to stop and take an interest in whatever has caught your child’s attention. My three-year-old is always the one to remind me of this one. You know how you hear “mama” all day long until it starts to fade out and you don’t notice it as much anymore?
Well, each time it happens to me, my three-year-old makes sure to find the most fitting way to get my attention. The most recent occurrence involved him shooting me in the back with a Nerf gun from about two feet away. If your child is deliberately trying to engage you, even if it’s just to show you a rock he found on the ground, don’t let the opportunity pass you by! Crouch down with him to take a closer look.
Because all that your child needs; is you-parent. Give him the quality time he/she deserves.