The best Hour of the Day

Being a parent isn’t easy much less a single parent. Being a parent in general there are those days where it seems like there isn’t enough hours in a day. Single parents don’t just have days, it is a everyday challenge for them to get everything done in just the 24 minus their sleep time, which some days isn’t much. So, when your a single parent, when is it important to spend a lot of time with your children and when is it important to spend a little, but really good time with your children? Here is when quality matters over quantity:

The afternoon school talks

Children spend most of their day at school, for most children, they don’t want to talk about it when they get home for hours on end. Simply asking them every evening. “What was one thing that you learned at school today? One thing that you didn’t know this morning, that you know now.” Is the best easiest way to connect with a child and their day at school. It makes them run through their head each thing that they did at school, and it provides you with the one thing that sticks out most for them. It makes really listening to them easy, (especially when you have a hundred things running through your own head), and it lets them know that you care about their day. It keeps the whole after school talk sweet and short and it gives them the opportunity to give you a actual answer besides the all to famous “good” answer. When you ask them what one thing they learned about, it lets them know that you really care about how their day went, without allowing them to give you that one word answer . . . “Good.”

Cleaning up

No one likes to clean up, so why not make it fun and short. Make a game out of it! See who can do their chore the fastest, and that person gets to pick dinner or where you and them go the next time your going out to eat. Don’t forget to add the rule that it has to be done right or it don’t count. Play race against the clock or beat the song. Doing things like this makes cleaning fun and fast, but done right, and its something that you and your kids can do together. Set a certain amount of time everyday for this, but make it as short as possible and as fun as possible. Making it fun and working together will teach them about focusing, getting things done, and working as part of a team. Cleaning up really isn’t about the amount of time you spend doing it, its about the quality of the work!

Playing games

Playing games is a good way to connect with your child, but playing games short not long drawn out games. No one really had time to play a game that takes hours on end to play, not to mention children don’t really like them either. It don’t matter if your children are older or younger, long drawn out games don’t work for either. Younger children have short attention spans most of the time, and older children have other things to do. A good game for this is UNO, and not keeping score but playing the best two out of three. There are other games similar to this, and of course make sure it is age-appropriate.

The Silly time

Most of the time as parents we get so wrapped up in our problems and other things going on in our lives we forget to have fun, laugh, and just be silly. What a better time to remember to do this than with our children. Children love it, and for adults it gives us a moment to just let go. It allows us to be worry free and stress free for that moment. It shows our children that we can play and have fun with them.

Turn the music on, turn it up, run around the house tickling them, laughing, catching them, spinning them around, dancing silly, singing horribly into hair brushes, or whatever the moment brings. It’s not something that is going to last for an hour, it may last for the most two songs, but it will be the best time that your kids ever have. It will brighten their whole day and yours too. Try it! It may be something that you want to do at least once a day, and then again it may be something that you try and do once a week. Look for the moments that make this right, and take the opportunity! Memories will be made with this time, shouldn’t that make it worth it to “let your hair down” for ten minutes!

Reading books

Reading books is a wonderful way to connect with your child, especially if you make it an every night ritual right before bed. Short books work best, usually by the end of the day all children are tired. Preschool age children and younger don’t have long attention spans, so the shorter the book the better. Reading the book in a animated way catches their attention and puts the quality in it. Even for the school age child, they are usually tired enough at bed time, sitting still for five minutes and they are out. Reading a long book or spending a long time reading a book with them isn’t really necessary, but reading in a animated way so that they enjoy it is.

There are a lot of things that can take a few minutes, a lot of minutes, or no minutes at all. Some things we tend to forget as parents because our heads are filled with worries and stress to take five with your kids and leave the worries and that stress sitting on a shelf. Children aren’t that picky, they would rather have five minutes with you, than no minutes at all.

Start with, asking your child after school what they know now, that they didn’t know this morning, chances are you will either remember something you had forgotten or your going to learn something new! Don’t do the clean up, play the clean up! Play the game even if you play while you make or eat supper, see who is going to be the champion today!

Have your silly time before bath time, show your children grown ups can have fun too. We spend so much time in our lives being grown, why not take ten and be a kid, its much more fun. Don’t argue over bed time take the time to read a 10 minute book with all the animation you can muster. By the time it is all said and done, and everyone is tucked into bed, you have spent less than a hour with your child and that less than a hour will mean more to them than anything they did in the other 23!