The bliss and carefree-ness of summer holidays is over, and once again school returns, along with the hectic lifestyle it often brings. Oh, how sad to see those long days of togetherness start to disappear.
Parents know all too well how little time we have with our children, to build the bonds of strong relationships with them and to cherish those special moments. And, don’t you just feel that at times, school gets in the way of that? Back to homework in the afternoons, music practice and lessons, you might squeeze in dance lessons or sporting activities, and then there can also be church clubs and activities that will once again start up for the year.
Here are some simple, fuss-free, small-time things you can do with your daughter, to spend quality time together, even when things seem too hectic!
1 Paint each other’s nails
You could do this while cooking dinner together, or watching TV with the family. If your school has a no nail polish rule, just do toenails – and seeing as they’ll only be out and about at home, try different colours on different nails!
2 Stop off at a park or lakeside on the way home from school
It doesn’t need to be a long stop – maybe even just time for a push on the swing, or a quick toe-dip in the water at the lake. We’re trying to get into the habit of keeping a couple of towels in the car boot just in case we’re inspired to do such a thing in the spur of the moment!
3 Have an afternoon tea snack together
If you’re home before your children arrive, it’s lovely to have it ready on the table for them when they walk in the door. Something simple like a smoothie, milo, crackers, carrot sticks and dip, or a cookie is just as nice as a treat that is more special. Do your arrival routines first (school bags in rooms, lunch bags emptied etc) and share the day with each other before heading into homework and practices. If you can catch your children when they first come home, they are more likely to share more of their day with you.
4 Do homework as a family at the kitchen table
I did this growing up, and did it with my children, too. It allows you to keep an eye on the work they are doing, and to be readily available when they need help. Actually sitting at the table with your children lets them know you are right there when they need you.
5 ‘Just because’ gifts
I read this somewhere on the internet and loved the idea! It can be a great way to pick up spirits if someone is having a bad day, or for those children whose love language is receiving gifts, it is an inexpensive way for them to feel loved. A ‘just because’ gift is a little gift given ‘just because’ you love them. I don’t do this all the time, but every now and then will buy a multi-pack of small chocolate bars and hand them out over a couple of weeks as my ‘just because’ gifts.
6 Do a simple craft together
A simple craft, that can be kept with all that is needed for it and pulled out to spend even 5 or 10 minutes at a time can be fun to do together. Ideas could be making a felt pin cushion, beading a necklace or making loom bands. Keep everything in a snap lock bag or sewing basket – pins, needles, threads, stuffing, fabric, buttons etc, can all be collected at the start of the project and put together so you don’t need to hunt them down everytime you want to work on it!
7 Colour in together
Great for a rainy day and something that a busy mum can put down at any moment if something needs to be done for dinner, or another child helped. There are some great, rather detailed colouring in pages you can download from the internet, or you might come across a detailed book in a cheap shop or craft store.
8 Cook tea together
Great for learning new skills, talking quietly together and it’s a task you need to do anyway!
And when you are too tired or stressed to think creatively, if you have made one of our bucket lists, you can always refer to that! Craft kits for this are available at $18 each + p&h. Simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pm on facebook Amelia Magazine.
What’s your favourite quality-time snippet your family enjoys? We’ve done afternoon tea for the last 10 years and I just love it! When all my kids were little and I wasn’t working much, I would have something home-baked every day (oh, how did I do that!), but now that I have two teenagers, they are usually more difficult to keep at the table – it’s usually a quick conversation and a snatch of afternoon tea, then they are keen to get to their quiet space in their room and do homework in peace! Mind you, those old habits are hard to get away from and there will be days that we have a lovely time around the table together!