What has made an incredibly difference in our family is the amount and quality of one on one time that Peyton has with me. I know....simple but making sure she has uninterrupted time with no TV, phone, email...anything....with quality conversation and activities has made such a difference. And also just slowing down our life. By living here we are naturally forced in a slower paced life. I can't run errands during the week, there isn't much "entertainment," to do any errands it is a seriously big trip and often not worth it and life is just slower and not filled with endless amounts of things to do which in conducive for more time with my kids and not running around.
Here are some things and ways I implement quality time with Peyton during the week...
- During Graham's nap we have a routine of 30 minutes of play time with mom and then 30-45 minutes of self play where she has to do something on her own. I have a topic each day to help with picking something such as Saturday-craft, Sunday- board games and puzzles, Monday- outdoor activity like park or beach, Tuesday- baking day, and Wednesday- bible lesson themed craft. On the weekends we have no plan as our weekends are not nearly consistent with everything that goes on.
- I spend time with Peyton at our coffee/ice cream shop about every other week and have intentional conversations with her about a variety of topics. I have found Pinterest to be incredibly helpful in finding questions and tips on talking about things. I also just let her lead the conversation and have learned about things that make her frustrated like her brother going in her room and we can talk through it and come up with a solution.
- Still struggling with this one but....limiting the amount of time I am on the computer so I am more accessible.
- When Peyton does have her TV time, being more intentional about sitting next to her as opposed to somewhere else.
- Evaluating whether a household task such as laundry, dishes etc is really all that important and whether it can wait especially when they come to ask to play and saying "yes" more often as opposed to "wait, or after this." I find that I often get trapped into the mindset of everything has to be cleaned, organized and done and that makes me a good mom when in reality my kids just want me.
With Peyton being at school in the mornings four days a week I find making the one on one time with Graham much easier. We have Mommy and Me swimming twice a week, I take him to the park by Peyton's school and just make sure that a portion of the time Peyton is at school is set aside for just him.
I know it seems simple but it has made a huge difference and has been a big milestone for me to make sure to carve out more time for playing, engaging with my kids. I felt like before the household stuff took up a larger proportion of my day and I now seek to make sure that is flipped.