5 minute fillers for parent-baby bonding

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.

Lilly and I on the train

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!



  1. Lindsey | 13th Feb 17

    Such great ideas…we always do the dance party!!

  2. Marcie | 13th Feb 17

    We always read books and I try to stretch them out by asking questions about the pictures and then my son will “read” the book back to me. I want to do more dance parties!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 14th Feb 17

      At the moment my daughter turns the pages before I’ve even finished reading them!

  3. jehava | 13th Feb 17

    Love these! Definitely can use them today as well.

  4. beth | 13th Feb 17

    Outside is always such a great option. Isn’t everyone happier outdoors?

  5. Mrs Mummy Harris | 13th Feb 17

    I am all for dance parties. I even dance when getting dressed just to keep Ben happy. He loves music and a good boogie!

  6. Louise | 13th Feb 17

    All lovely ideas! Oliver loves the ‘show me’ game, or just copying me! If I start dancing he bops around or if I clap he follows a few moments later, it’s just so cute!

  7. Money Corgi | 14th Feb 17

    Nice article.

    Someone needs to figure out why babies love being held upside down. Seems like a universal thing that all babies love.

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 15th Feb 17

      It’s funny isn’t it! I guess it’s fun to see the world from a different perspective.

  8. Mamaguru | 14th Feb 17

    Ho sweet! I love dancing with kids! It’s so free and fun!

  9. Nicole - Tales from Mamaville | 14th Feb 17

    Great post. Lovely ideas! Thanks for sharing and I’m adopting a few:)

  10. Kelly | 14th Feb 17

    Great ideas. I need to try some of these. The dance party in particular sounds fun 🙂 #DreamTeam

  11. Helena | 14th Feb 17

    These are lovely ideas. We love to read lots of books together. #mg

  12. Rhyming with Wine | 14th Feb 17

    I think it’s such great advice to be mindful of the 5 minutes of fun that can be squeezed in here and there throughout the day. We often get to bed time and think – “where did the day go?” but there is always time to sneak in a quick song, story or dance party. We’re currently into the Minions version of Uptown Funk. It’s going down quite well for a 4 minute giggle! Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 16th Feb 17

      I haven’t heard the Minions version, but it sounds like fun!

  13. Jennifer Steinmetz | 14th Feb 17

    Beautiful thoughts and tips! I’m going to start looking for these little pockets of time!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 15th Feb 17

      Thanks Jennifer. They pop up all the time once you start looking for them.

  14. Emmi | 15th Feb 17

    That’s true! There are so many little opportunities to share time with your kids or babies!
    Thank you for sharing! #globalblogging

  15. Kelsie | 15th Feb 17

    This is so fun! I love these ideas, especially the dance party!

  16. Mackenzie Glanville | 16th Feb 17

    Such a gorgeous post. It is so true we can find pockets of time when we really want to, it is often about priorities and our children should be on top of that list #mg

  17. Kiri | 16th Feb 17

    Such a lovely post and some great ideas! #mg

  18. One Messy Mama | 16th Feb 17

    Great idea and useful tips 🙂 #globalblogging

  19. Hayley@ Mission: Mindfulness | 16th Feb 17

    Oooo I love ‘show me how you….’ – will be using this tomorrow with the twins. I totally agree with you about using our time wisely. I used to get frustrated about kept waiting and now I just use it as opportunities to bond/connect with the kids – it’s such a good reframing activity. For instance today I was in A and E with one of the girls for the whole morning (all fine now) and instead of getting frustrated about it I used it as precious 1 – 2 – 1 time that we rarely get. We sang songs, played with the toy kitchen, read books etc (oh and I tried to catch her wee for a sample – that wasn’t so fun actually ;-)) and actually it turned out to be quite a nice morning. Well done on a really good advice post and I am loving the look of the blog now btw #globablblogging xx

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Feb 17

      It makes everyone much happier too – you forget you’re angry/frustrated and they have fun. Everyone wins! Poor thing, hope she is ok. It sounds like you made the most of the time together and that probably also had the bonus effect of making her calmer and less scared of A&E! Pleased to hear you like the new blog look. Me too! xx


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