As more and more of our friends become mothers, we watch as they start to sink under the multitude of demands put on their time. Most specifically, we notice how guilty they feel about the time they spend away from their kids working, engaging in self-care or simply trying to prioritize their romantic relationships. So, we did some digging and found news that might help alleviate some of the stress involved with being a modern multi-tasking mother. According to research, it’s not how much time you spend with your kids that matters, but rather the quality of the time spent. The study, a large longitudinal one, found that “the amount of time spent with kids ‘did not matter’—and in some cases could even harm children” (e.g., when mom is stressed). For those of you who have kids and are struggling with guilt, hopefully this is helpful information. Here, six great ideas for planning quality time with your little ones.
Grab a camera—anything from a Polaroid to an iPhone works—and challenge your kids to take photos of certain items only (e.g., anything blue, rectangular, etc).
There are tons of health benefits to teaching children how to cook—you can read about some of them here. The New York Times has a great Kids In The Kitchen series to tap for inspo and tips on getting even your three-year-old involved in meal prep.
Kids love to feel like grown-ups, as crazy as that may seem to those of us who actually have to function as adults. Make this a regular date, wherein you both order the same thing each time (coffee for you, steamed milk for her) and have an "adult" discussion about what's going on in life that week (new playgroup, latest art project, etc.).
We're stealing this one from a friend who plays Toddler Jeopardy with his daughter regularly. All the questions within the ever-changing game are things his three-year-old knows the answer to, such as "Q: Topeka, Kansas; A: Where Grandma Lives!"
Maybe this is because we live in Los Angeles, but all our friends are teaching their kids yoga and it is freaking adorable (and good for them, too). You'd be surprised what kids as young as two and three can do. Some are even getting their toddlers into meditation, which is a great lifelong practice to start early. Many yoga studios offer classes for kids, and if there are none in your area, you can always find something to follow along with on YouTube.
Cheap sheet masks and some nail polish are all you need to make your kids feel like they're enjoying a very grown-up day at the spa with you.
Think of what may be nearby and of interest that extends beyond a theme or water park. A ghost town could really spark their imaginations, for example, or a natural wonder might do the trick (for example, a waterfall). Plan adventures—such as a scavenger hunt—upon arrival so as to stave off short attention spans.