Spending time with your child

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Parenthood is an endless juggling act performed while riding a unicycle. At least it feels that way most days. You’re gone all day, working to put food on the table, and it doesn’t end when you come home. There are meals to be cooked, chores to be done and errands to be run. Before you know it, you’re putting your child to bed and wondering where the opportunity went to spend quality time with them. You don’t have to restructure your life to find those opportunities. Instead, try these simple suggestions.

Cook with your child
By letting your child help in the kitchen, you kill three birds with one stone. First, you put a home-cooked meal on the table. Second, you make a memory with your child they’ll cherish for years to come. Third, you teach them a valuable life skill. Even if your child’s young, you can enlist their help with things like putting ingredients in a bowl, counting cups of flour, and stirring it together. Not only will they have fun but by watching you, they’ll learn how to cook for themselves when they’re older. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to cook. Neither does your child. You can learn together.

Do chores together
Chores are no one’s idea of fun, but they’re more enjoyable when you split the work. Young children especially like to help however they can. Everything is new to them, so everything is fun. Put on some music, roll up your sleeves and make a game of it. Roll your laundry into balls and try shooting it into the washing machine like a basketball. Split up a room and see who can get their side clean first. Set a prize for the winner as an added incentive — something like dessert or a movie. By the end, your home will be cleaner, and your child will have learned valuable skills.

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Watch a show together
We all had our favorite shows growing up, and your child is no exception. By watching their shows with them, you connect with their interests and gain insight into details like their sense of humor. This is a great opportunity to make certain the shows are appropriate for them as well. Just because something’s labeled kid-friendly doesn’t mean <em>you’d</em> want them watching it. You can also introduce them to shows you loved when you were young. Imagine how much more special they’ll be.

Cut yourself some slack
The fact that you’re reading an article like this means you’re invested in your child’s happiness. Don’t torture yourself over whether you’re doing enough. Instead, take that energy and make the most of the time you have. Maybe they won’t recognize the effort you put in until they’re older, but they’ll feel your love shining through every day. In the end, that’s what they need.

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