March 20, 2017

10 Ways to Connect With Your Child in 5 Minutes or Less

Many parents work hard to practice mindfulness, but with the hustle of everyday life along with extracurricular activities, dinnertime and the occasional sibling spats, keeping a calm, approachable, mindful attitude can prove challenging for even the most well-meaning parent. We’re only human, after all. And we’re all staying pretty busy day to day.

Sometimes it can feel like you and your family members are like two ships passing in the night as you come home from work and they rush off to swim school or hockey practice. Many parents find themselves asking the question, “am I spending enough time with my kids?”

While history and science show that spending time with kids helps ensure bright futures for all members of the family, a recent study shows that the quality of the time parents spend with children is far more meaningful than the quantity.

A recent Washington Post article quoted Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto:

“Building relationships, seizing quality moments of connection, not quantity…is what emerging research is showing to be most important for both parent and child well-being…”


father giving his son piggyback ride outdoors against sky


So when you find yourself in a hectic day or before the chaos of that dinnertime-to-bedtime transition, try one of these to leverage some high-quality moments with your kiddo in five minutes or less:

Show them empathy.

If your child is having a moment of high or strong emotion, you might want to walk away or ignore it in a time of inconvenience, but take an opportunity instead to sit and validate his feelings while showing him you understand why he’s upset.

Just dance.

Turn up your Bluetooth speakers and jam out to a great Spotify channel for the next five minutes. If it happens in the middle of dinner prep, just go with it and get the whole family jumping and jiving for a guaranteed end in laughs, smiles and deeper connections all around.

Watch them play.

Put all the technology away and just watch them do their thing. If they’re having a blast throwing a penny around the floor and trying to get it to spin, watch their faces as they light up and get in on the action, too.

Hold them.

For no reason other than they’re getting your next five minutes without interruption, hold them for as long as they’ll let you and be the last to let go.

Play a game.

A quick game of Connect Four or Jenga can last five minutes and offer a quality engagement opportunity with your kids at the same time. Coloring together can connect you and your children over moments of picking out and talking about colors, designs and technique. Show them how creative you can be and let their imagination inspire you, too.

Read a story.

Let your child pick out a few books to read together. If she still fits, let her sit in your lap and read together.

Take a walk.

Take your dog for a walk or just take a walk together to get outside and enjoy the world around you without distraction.\

Ask questions.

What was the absolute best part of your day? What was the best thing you got to do at school today? What was the most exciting thing you ate? Start a quick dialogue and enjoy the answers you receive from a young child with a full heart and a wild imagination.

Give a piggyback ride.

A quick piggy back ride around the house or even around the room can be something fun and meaningful to a young child who thrives with a little bit of quality attention.

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