Spending time with our kids is a big priority for the KABRITA team, but as busy parents, we know it can be tough to carve out great swathes of dedicated kid-time. The good news is, we know from experience you don’t need a huge block of time to make a big difference to your little one’s happiness (and to yours!).
Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or the minute you walk in the door at the end of a long day, we like to observe the 15 minute rule: a solid bit of time (it doesn’t actually have to be a full 15 minutes) we devote to our little ones before addressing any “grown-up” concerns.
“Getting a two year old ready and both of us out the door in the morning can require military precision,” says KABRITA PR Manager Kali Pearson. “But weirdly, the mornings I take a few minutes to hang out with Jack first thing, reading a book or playing race cars before I start running around, are the ones that go the most smoothly for both of us.”
Co-founder and CEO Carolyn Ansley’s applies the 15 minute rule at the end of her day. “It took me time to realize (time I wish I could get back), that the best way to re-engage with my kids at the end of a work day was totally. Simply focussing on my children for 15 minutes helped dissolve both my daily frustrations and theirs, and this time provided my kids with the much needed attention and love they had been waiting for. After hugs, kisses, stories and whatever else my children needed they would go about their play and I could continue with the practical demands of the evening.”
Here’s how to make the most of even a little bit of time with your little one.
Turn off and tune in
When you walk in the door, let your little one know they have your undivided attention by making a show of putting down everything work-related, including your purse, brief case and especially any devices connected to your email. Then go for a walk, catch a ball outside, or sit down and play a game. You don’t need to dream up complicated activities to have fun and connect.
Check your attitude
It’s not just your physical baggage you need to put down, it’s your emotional baggage, too. A tough day is hard to leave behind, but making a conscious mental note to shift your attitude no matter what the day has thrown you is important. Psychology Today reports that children can pick up on and mirror the mood of their stressed-out parents within minutes.
Only 20% of the communication we have with our kids is verbal, with the remaining 80% coming from body language. Toddlers often pick up on facial expressions and posture more than words. So uncross your arms, put on a smile and make your little one feel valued (you’ll boost your own mood, too!).
Give yourself a break
Juggling family fun and adult responsibilities is tough for anyone, so if you can’t put in a full 15 minutes every day, or can’t manage to clear your mind and jump in with gusto, don’t worry. Even just sitting near your little one as they do their own thing will make a difference.
Quality time with your little one doesn’t have to be complicated, or take long. But a bit of undivided attention will make a huge difference in their day – and yours, too!