As a mama who works full time, spending quality time with my two-year-old is a top priority. But as working mamas know, caring for a household, holding down a job, and making sure that you spend quality time with your little one can be hard to juggle at times. However, as amazing as it is to be superwoman, it’s essential to make sure that your little one receives the attention, love, and time that they deserve.
I decided to create this post for those who need ideas (or reassurance) on ways they can spend quality time with their child. It’s important to note that quality exceeds quantity, and although it’s normal to feel guilty to not be able to spend every waking moment with your precious one (trust me, I know), there are ways that you can make the moments you share count and memorable.
1. Share a meal together
I work full time, so usually after work when I make dinner, I spend the time after that cleaning the kitchen. Although I wish it were possible to have dinner with my toddler, right now, it wouldn’t be conducive to our schedule, with bath and bedtime shortly following dinner. Instead, I’ve made it a priority to enjoy breakfast time with Kai. Even though we’re both a little cranky in the mornings, there’s nothing like enjoying our breakfast together. I use this time to tell him what his day is going to look like, and I try and get him excited for school. We both have our cup of “coffee,” I have an extra-strong cup of espresso, and he’ll have a cup of chocolate milk, his “coffee.”
2. Take advantage of car rides
The time I spend with Kai taking him to school and picking him up, although short, is valuable. We either use this time to sing songs or chit chat about the upcoming or past day. We also take this time to play our version of “I Spy”, where I ask him if he can spot an object of a specific color or shape.
3. Watch a show or movie together
Yes, the theme song to Word Party is burned into my brain. Yes, I’ve watched all episodes of Boss Baby more times than I can count. Yes, we’ve watched all three of the Despicable Me movies so much that I can do a perfect imitation of Dr. Gru. But nothing compares to snuggling up with my toddler at bedtime with a bag of popcorn and watching what makes him happy. He’s more than happy to pass me a few pieces of popcorn while stuffing a handful into his mouth.
4. Outdoor Time Rain or Shine
I love spending the weekend taking my toddler on an outdoor adventure. We don’t have to spend money, and he enjoys the time we spend together outside looking at the trees, bugs, and even the clouds. I used to have the mentality that when it’s raining, we will spend the day inside, but after last summer where it rained consecutively almost every weekend, we realized that keeping a toddler cooped up indoors for so long wasn’t helping anyone. Instead, we learned to appreciate all aspects of the weather. During a rain shower (never a thunderstorm!), Kai loves going outside to sing “rain, rain, go away” while jumping in puddles. He also likes to grab my hand and drag me to a,,” large puddle, so we’re able to splash together.
5. Clean Up Together
This is an activity that can be done any day of the week, because, let’s face it, having a toddler means you have a mini-tornado blasting through your home at all times. Not only is cleaning up something you can do together but giving your toddler a feeling of responsibility helps them grow to be independent. With Kai, his “chore” is to pick up his toys off the floor and put them into his toy box. Simple enough that a toddler can do it, but helpful enough that you’re not stepping on monster trucks on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (ouch!).
These are just a few of the many ways that I try and make and spend quality time with my toddler, all while managing a household and working full time. What are your favorite ways to spend quality time with your children? What activities and games do you enjoy together? Let me know in the comments, I might even reply to a few!