Looking for more quality time with kids?
Try this 5 minute idea...

Spending quality time with kids is a goal for all of us, but by the end of the day, I'm pretty beat. Sometimes I feel like I coast through my entire day without really connecting with my kids. Our bedtime routine involves some reading time and a reward chart review. On some nights where I feel like we have some extra time we have talks about serious topics, like stranger danger but usually it's pretty light. Recently, though,I've added something more.

We have a “love chat,” where we just talk about four specific things. See if this would be a fun way to connect with your child:

  • 1. What are you thankful for today?
  • Just encouraging kids to contemplate and express gratitude is a novel idea. I am constantly surprised by the answers I get (from “our cats” to... “toilets.”)
  • 2. What are you proud of today?
  • Just tonight my youngest beamed when he said “I was the first one to finish my chores!" He was excited because since he was first, he got to read with me first. Just a small incentive that happened to really motivate him.
  • 3. What are you sorry for today?
  • This my favorite one because it requires some higher level thinking. Usually the stated transgression is brother-related, and my boys usually have an easier time talking to me than with the sibling in question. The more they think about how their actions impact the people around them, the stronger their relationships. I have seen a reduction in sibling fighting since we've started this.
  • 4. What was your favorite part of the day?
  • Sometimes I don't get the answer I expect, but it's a nice way to recap the day. The most powerful response I got tonight, actually, when my youngest said “right now.”

At first glance, it might seem like one more thing to add to the bedtime routine, but I've found that it's worth it. It truly takes less than five minutes to check in with each child. You could even do it as a group, as you're turning out the light.

My next step might be to get a little notebook and record those little treasures so we have a family notebook of those little gems. So if you're looking for a way to have a little quality time with kids, consider having a "love chat" tonight. You might be surprised how easy it is to connect with your child after a busy day.

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