February is the month of love. There are so many ways to show your kids that you love them: kisses, food, helping them with homework, and of course telling them every day. Kids appreciate all of it. But I think they especially value quality time with their parents. Those moments together, big or small, are when they make their memories of childhood.
Here are some ways to make some memories with your little ones. Try them out and see which ones work best for your family!
- Date your kid. It doesn’t matter if it is going to a movie, seeing a monster truck rally, or just getting an ice cream cone together. Put on the calendar. Make it a big deal. It is important to spend time with each kid individually, and that each child gets to date each parent individually. One-on-one is very different from the group dynamic.
- Give them a few minutes every day. Set a timer for 10 minutes every night and do whatever your child wants you to do…video games, reading, playing Barbies. They get to decide. You give them your full attention. If they are having trouble coming up with ideas (or too young or can’t take turns deciding), write down some games/activities around the house and make an idea jar.
- Make something together. It is quality time and you have a finished product to remember it by. You can do something as simple as draw a picture with each of you adding things to it or as complicated as a model car kit.
- Do chores together. This is not glamorous, and it might not be super fun, but it is a way to squeeze some extra time together. I know it is faster to load the dishwasher yourself. Slow down, let them help, and you might have a great conversation. Maybe they can even learn something doing dishes and laundry.
- Make a calendar of possible activities. We keep a calendar (Google calendar works great) of possible kid activities. I make a note of weekly events like library storytime, discount days at indoor playgrounds, etc. If I hear about a special program at a museum or zoo, I jot it down. Then each day I have some pre-planned ideas for us to do together. And if the day comes and we don’t want to do it…no harm, no foul. It is just a calendar of possibilities.
- Interview each other. Make a video of you interviewing your kid about their favorite color, food, or movie. It will be a great keepsake to look back on. Then let your child be the interviewer and ask you the questions!
- Take advantage of the commute. Instead of turning on the radio, talk or play a game together the next time you are in the car.
- Try a screen-free day. No TV, computer, or iPad…and that means you, too! All that time away from individual screens, means more time spent together.
- Cook together. One night a week, let them choose dinner and then help make it. As a bonus, kids are usually more willing to try new foods when they help prepare them!
- Change the routine. What if you can’t fit in any extra time? Switch up the time you already spend with them. Instead of eating dinner at the table, eat it on the floor as a picnic. When you are getting ready in the morning, sing everything you say to them. When you tuck them in, tell them a story instead of reading a book. It’s not MORE time, but it is different and they will notice.