Rather you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, no doubt your schedule is busy, and your to do list is never complete. As a mom we are expected to wear lots of different hats! For me there have been times when I have been so wrapped up in my to do list- laundry, cleaning, dinner, bath time, other activities and functions- that I get to the end of the day and realize although I was with my kids ALL day, I wasn't REALLY WITH THEM. I hadn't taken the time to be with them. Sure, I filled a sippy cup in between tasks, I hurried them to nap time so that I could accomplish a few more things, but I hadn't been intentional in my time with them.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a mom who is really with my kids each day. I am still learning, but here are a few tips I have found very helpful in order to keep the balance in my household while still having intentional time with my children.
#1 Have an approximate schedule for the day.
As moms, we all know that a lot of time schedules get thrown out the window, so I am not saying have every minute of your day scheduled. But, have an idea in your head of what you would like to see your day look like. For example, I know that around 7:00 I’m going to spend about 45 minutes getting drinks and breakfast, watching cartoons, and giving my babies morning cuddles; around 10:00 I’m going to spend a few minutes doing an activity with my kids followed by a snack; around 11:00 I’m going to work with my kids to get the play area picked up before lunch…. Etc. There are days when a teething baby throws the whole routine off, and that’s fine, but in general this has been great for our routine.
#2 Have intentional conversations with your kids throughout the day (even the ones that can’t really talk).
I have been intentional about this one. I choose not to just shrug off my 3 year old who could talk non-stop all day long, instead I ask her questions. At the beginning of the day it may go something like this: How did you sleep? Did you have any dreams? What do you want to do today? Did you have fun yesterday? What did you do? At the end of the day it may look like this: Did you have a good day? What was your favorite part of today? Why?
If she has a story to tell, I ask for details. I engage her. I want her to know I’m listening.
#3 Enlist them in helping with whatever you are doing.
This is something you can start doing with your kids when they are still very young. Have them help you pick up the living room. As they get older let them help you unload the dishwasher, wash dishes, sweep the floor, make lunch, etc. Sometime it does feel like extra work to have them alongside of you, but it keeps them occupied, teaches them the importance of helping, and allows them to feel like a part of your day.
#5 Take intentional breaks throughout the day to do specific activities with your kids.
After I have completed one task and am ready to move onto the next I often times stop and intentionally do something with my kids. Maybe it’s going outside to swing, blow bubbles, create with sidewalk chalk? Maybe, it’s reading some books, having a tea party, building a block tower, or doing a craft?
They really feel special when you stop and focus solely on them for a few minutes.
#6 Put your phone away for a while.
I have had to learn throughout the day to put my cell phone on silent and put it up, especially during those times of focused activity with my kids. Simple idea, but such a big impact.
#7 Set a timer for different activities throughout the day.
This is useful both for your own personal to do list AND for your activity time with your kids. In order to keep a good balance throughout the day I find setting a timer for things SO helpful. I’ll clean for 30 minutes, and then spend an intentional 30 minutes with my kids. Do laundry for 15 minutes, then stop and spend 10 minutes reading a book to my kids. This will look different for every mom, but has allowed me to take control of my time without feeling extra stress.
#8 Have intentional eye contact time with your kids each day.
With little ones, tickle time is a great way to look them right in the eyes, tell them you love them, laugh with them a little, and then you both feel better moving on to whatever is next in your day. With older children this will look different but intentionally having “eye to eye” time each day does something to show your children your unconditional love.
#9 Have a day all about them.
Every once in a while it is great to throw the to do list out and just BE with your kids ALL DAY LONG. Don’t worry about the pile of dishes or laundry, just intentionally be with them. They will surely appreciate it!
I hope you find these ideas helpful! What intentional parenting tips would you add to the list?