Sometimes in the midst of the day-to-day busyness and stress of parenting we forget to enjoy our kids. Here are some practical ways to enjoy your kids more!
Kids grow up fast – we all know that! But sometimes in the midst of the day-to-day busyness and stress of parenting, we can sometimes forget to truly enjoy our kids.
I mean, let’s just be honest here, how many of us look forward to our kids’ naptimes and bedtimes every day? Don’t feel guilty, that’s normal – kids are exhausting!
BUT if we are always looking forward to those break times as some of the best parts of our days then we are missing out on a lot! Kids are hard and tiring, yes, but they are also precious gifts who are often sweet and hilarious and usually our biggest fans!
So what can we do to enjoy our kids more? Here are nine ideas:
9 Practical Ways to Enjoy Your Kids More
Note: these ways to enjoy your kids more are things I’m working on, NOT things I’m perfect at by any means. In fact, while writing this post I told Pablo that I felt a bit hypocritical because I had just put both kids to bed with great relief that it was finally their bedtime, ha! So yeah, this post is for me as much as anyone else.
1. Put away your phone
I say this first because it’s a big one for me. Putting down my phone and being engaged with my kids is so important! It is SO easy for me to pick up my phone when I’m with my kids. Seriously, it’s really a struggle for me some days. I may excuse it because I have “important blog stuff to do” or whatever but honestly, most of the time whatever thing I’m picking up my phone for can wait.
This article has a lot of practical ideas that I found very helpful as I work to get better at limiting my phone use, especially around my kids.
2. Become a better listener
When you’ve been hearing “MAMA!” all day long it can be easy to tune out the noise. I’m probably extra good at this due to growing up with a lot of younger siblings. Ha! But man you guys, if we’re not listening to our kids, how are we going to enjoy them?
My kids say the funniest things sometimes – some of our interactions are just hilarious. But it all starts with actually listening.
3. Prioritize one-on-one times
Family time is important, but one-on-one times are extra special. I think this can be one of the best ways to enjoy your kids more. Kids just act different when they get to spend one-on-one time with Mom (or Dad)!
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be something elaborate – just taking one of the kids along with you to run errands can end up being a fun, meaningful time for the two of you!
If you’re looking for more on why one-on-one time is important, and need some ideas for how to make it happen, check out this post: The Importance of One-On-One Times With Your Child
4. Sit down on the ground and play
Yes, you may not be the playing-make-believe-with-kids type, and yes, you probably have other things to do, but forget all that for a bit and sit down and play! You may be surprised at how much you enjoy watching your kids and playing along with them.
My kids LOVE it when I sit down and play LEGOS or dolls or really anything with them. And yeah, it’s kind of hard for me to summon up the imagination and creativity that came so easy as a kid, but let’s be honest, the kids usually want to tell me exactly how to play anyway, ha!
Something I’ll do occasionally is to tell each child that I’ll play with them for 15-20 minutes and set a timer. This helps me because there is an end time and the kids are just thrilled to have some Mommy play time.
5. Tell them about when you were little
I know this one might seem random, but my kids LOVE it when I tell them stories from when I was little. (Maybe because it blows their minds that I used to be little? Haha)
I think that sharing memories with your kids from your own childhood can be a really special, bonding thing to do and I enjoy how my kids remember all the little details.
One of their favorite stories from my childhood is when I had a live squirrel get stuck in the spokes of my bike . . . maybe I’ll tell it on here sometime. 🙂
6. Create something together
I am not a crafty person (my mom can tell you that!) but a great way to enjoy your kids more is to create something with them, even if it’s super simple. Sometimes I’ll draw a house and let the kids color the rooms and put stickers on it. Sometimes I’ll make them a little paper book and they fill it with drawings. Like I said, easy stuff!
Creating things together doesn’t have to be just crafts either. Instead of always banishing your kids from the kitchen when you’re baking, invite them in to make something easy together (these 5 Ingredient Energy Bites are a yummy option.) Your kids will be so proud of the final product. Just be prepared for extra mess and don’t freak out!
7. Do chores together
Let’s be honest, it’s generally like 10 times easier to just do all the cleaning yourself, but if you never include your kids then you’re missing out on good teaching and bonding moments with them!
While my kids are typically never excited about cleaning, they do actually seem to enjoy it when we’re all doing it together. (Fun music helps too!)
8. Write down the funny things they say
Kids can be so hilarious. I like to keep a note on my phone where I jot down the funny things they say. You always think you’ll remember but often times you won’t if you don’t write it down.
One of my favorite things that Caleb used to say was when he would call me Pablo’s “life” instead of “wife”. So cute!
9. Realize it’s ok to take a break every so often too
This may not be what you expected on a list for how to enjoy your kids more, but it’s true. A little break does everyone good sometimes!
So don’t feel guilty about taking a little kid-free time away if you get the chance. I often go out to a coffee shop on Sunday afternoons to write (thank you Pablo!) and the time away is so refreshing! Just an hour or two can really rejuvenate me and make me ready to enjoy being with my kids again.
Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy your kids more. Let’s chat in the comments!