As a working parent, quality time with my daughter is important. I believe there are enough hours in the day, but I am very conscious to use my time wisely. One thing I am doing lately is making sure I make the most of otherwise ‘wasted’ time by using it to spend quality time with my daughter Lilly.
The most obvious example is our train journey to work. Lilly comes to work with me two days a week and the whole commute takes about 45 minutes each way. 25 minutes of that is spent on the train. Rather than sitting on social media (like I used to pre-baby) and letting Lilly entertain herself, I zip my phone in my bag and we play. I sing nursery rhymes, throw her about in the air or hold her upside down (one of her favourite past-times, apparently), read her a book or play with her toys. More recently she has been practicing her climbing skills by climbing over me, the pram and the seat or learning social skills by waving at and babbling to all the passengers. I always look forward to the commute, even at the end of a tiring day.
Now that I’m looking for them, there are plenty of pockets of time throughout the day that we can use in this way: waiting for the toast to cook or the kettle to boil, walking around the supermarket (who says we can’t multi-task!) or the spare ten minutes before we need to leave for an appointment. If we arrive early for swimming lessons we have a quick 5 minute play in the pool before the lesson, or at library rhyme time we read a short book. I also sit in the back seat on car journeys while my husband is driving. This is all time we would otherwise have wasted by just waiting.
There are plenty of fun things to do in these pockets of time. Here are a few we do regularly:
- Dance party – usually in the mornings before we need to leave. I find a song on YouTube, blast it at high volume and sing and prance about the house. It does wonders to wake me up and lift my mood too!
- Read a book – we love books and always have them lying around. If your children are older you can try reading them a chapter or a few pages, or letting them read to you.
- Show me how you … – My daughter loves showing off her new skills. Whenever she does something new she looks around for encouragement and approval with a big grin on her face. I love seeing this, so I often ask her to show me. ‘Show me how you clap/bounce/crawl/stand/walk/say ‘mum’/shake the toy/turn the page…’. We both love it!
- Get outside – this one doesn’t need much explanation. If we have enough time, we often take a quick trip to the park. If not, we just sit outside in the garden for five minutes. It always amazes me how calming and peaceful that can be.
I honestly believe that there is plenty of time for the things that are important to us. We just have to look for it and use it wisely!