For working parents, the evenings often involve hours of household chores and driving to various errands and activities. Staying close and connected with your children can be challenging in this environment and many parents who try to “do it all” end up feeling short-changed in the process. As the holidays approach parents are reminded even more of how precious family time is and how our daily interactions set the tone for family gatherings.

Make your time together meaningful…

For years parenting experts have been saying that quality is a much greater factor than quantity when building a close and loving relationship with your children. Make the time that you spend together more meaningful by following these simple tips:

1) Spend the first 15 minutes after arriving home listening to your child. Completely focus on her during this time without allowing any distractions or interruptions.

2) Ask open ended questions. Instead of “did you have a good day?” ask “what was the very best part of the day?” Be prepared to listen to the challenges as well as the good parts. These conversations can take place while chauffeuring kids to activities.

3) Share meals whenever possible.

4) Hug and kiss your child often.

5) Smile and greet your child when she comes into the room.

6) Develop simple rituals. Giving a child a particular good-bye hug, making pancakes on a Sunday or sharing a special phrase when parting for the day can become a memory that your child may treasure for a lifetime.

7) Spend 5 or 10 minutes connecting with your child at bedtime. Even older children appreciate a parent bringing them a glass of water and spending a few minutes talking quietly at night. Younger kids will appreciate “tuck in” time with a story or special book.

These ideas encourage meaningful interactions without requiring big changes in your daily schedule. If you’re looking for help with making the time with your children more meaningful, contact me to learn more about my parenting coaching services.

Written by Jessica Kramer, LCPC, NCC