Jeff and I have a goal to schedule 1:1 time with our girls at least once a month. Kind of like a little date with your kiddo. It’s one of my favorite things, even with a two-year-old I can see that it means so much to her to have the dedicated attention and something to call our own. But several hours of dedicated time once a month is not enough! I want to connect with my kids each day to remind them that they are beautiful inside and out and that I love them so incredibly hard. You too? I bet you’re nodding your head. Obviously. But thinking about how to do that. Daily. While also taking care of all of the things can see really overwhelming.
What if it wasn’t about the amount of time?
Here’s the thing. Kid’s have short attention spans. Not only is it tough to spend an hour of quality time with them several times throughout the day, they don’t need you to. (Obviously, it’s awesome if you can do that, but it isn’t realistic for me and it might not be for you either.) Instead of stressing over the amount of time I spend each day with my girls (hint: it’s never going to feel like enough). I intentionally make 5 specific moments throughout the day really meaningful.
The 5 most important daily moments with your kids
Before I list out the five, please know I heard these while I was listening to a podcast, probably two years ago. It stuck with me and I didn’t really think anything of noted the source at the time. Since, I have searched high and low for the source of this goodness and I cannot find it. So. If you know where this comes from will you please comment or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)? I would love to provide the right source if I can. Thanks.
Ok, back to it. Here are the 5 moments throughout the day that I make sure I show Hayes and Nellie intentional, focused, consistent love.
- When they wake up
- When we leave each other for the morning (Jeff drives the girls to daycare)
- When we greet each other after school/work (I usually pick up)
- Dinner time
(The 5 listed make sense for me since I work outside of the house and the girls go to daycare, but if you’re rocking that SAHM life, just adjust to fit what makes sense for your typical day!)
What I love about this list is that they are points of transition and you can easily create routines and rituals for each one of them (consistency is another way kids feel loved and secure). Here’s what we do as an example…
When they wake up
I greet the girls when they wake up with a “Hello! How did you sleep?” and a big snuggly hug.
When we leave each other in the morning
I usually help get the girls into the car. Right now Hayes gets a kiss, a hug, and I say “I love you Hayes” until she says “I love you too, Mama” back to me. I always give Nellie a kiss on the forehead and do something goofy until she smiles at me.
When we greet each other after school/work
When I pick up the girls I throw in some embarrassing waving, big hugs when we embrace, and on the way home I turn my podcast and/or music off and we just talk about the day. If Jeff picks up the girls, I usually have dinner started and Hayes does the good ole jump and hug when she gets home (melts me every time) and we chat about the day.
We start dinner by stacking our phones, holding hands, and saying a prayer. Dinner time can be a little hectic in general, but the first several minutes always seem to have some good conversation and laughs. Oh, and if possible, I get Hayes involved with cooking dinner or washing dishes — when they are old enough it’s a great chance for extra connection.
Right now Jeff and I divide and conquer bedtime. So whoever we aren’t putting to bed gets a kiss before the other person takes them to bed. When I am putting them to bed we read a couple books, say the Our Father, talk about what we are thankful for, say prayer for anything or anyone specifically, and then it’s hugs + kisses, and the first prayer I remember learning “I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me.”
Lately Jeff has been telling Hayes these short stories that he makes up and she has been asking me “tell me the story about the turtle and the raspberries” or “tell me the story about the little girl and the puppy” — soooo I usually end up making up a story of my own (it’s pretty obvious she likes Jeff’s better, LOL).
Lower the pressure on yourself!
It’s easy to feel like you aren’t showing your kids enough love, aren’t spending enough time with, etc. etc. But lower the pressure on yourself. Chances are you are doing way WAY better than you let yourself think. Once I started to get intentional with a few minutes during each transition point in the day, I noticed I felt better and we felt more connected. Never estimate the power of eye contact, asking questions, and listening!