Most of us are always with our kids right now, so they rely on us for virtually everything throughout each day, including their social needs. This close proximity 100% of the time makes us yearn for some personal space, and we feel guilty that we are not always in the mood to play with our kids, especially since we are always around them, being their cook, cleaner and teacher, among other things.
Recently I was chatting with a friend about this current at-home situation, and she told me about an article she read recently that had stemmed from a book that included the idea that we should spend 10 minutes of quality time between each parent and kid each day. The child chooses the activity, and the time together is one-on-one uninterrupted. The suggestion was to even set a timer to set realistic expectations for how much time can be spent this way. The book was written pre-pandemic, so this concept can be applied no matter if you have limited amount of time together each day or quite simply too much.
I instantly loved this idea! Our myKinCloud app was founded on this very idea, that quality is more important than quantity. The practices within our app are short and achievable, yet they are meaningful and impactful. Taking this concept offline in our daily interaction with our kids really resonated with me. Our kids need time with us where we are truly present. That being said, we can’t be truly present every minute of each day, nor do our kids even want us to be right there by their side all day long, giving them constant attention. Setting aside dedicated time each day promotes meaningful connection within a very achievable time limit.
So I’ve tried it! I have admittedly been a little less rigid about the 10 minutes rule, and sometimes it happens more than once in a day, but I have made sure to set aside daily, short time periods with each of my kids to participate in an activity of their choice. I have played with stuffed animals, edited silly pictures of the family, played ping pong and been an online karate partner. It is remarkable how much more calm and connected I feel after spending this time with them, and I can tell they feel the same.
Why not give it a try?! 10 minutes. We can all do that each day. Anyone can dress up as a princess, play a quick video game or discuss the latest superhero movie when it is for a very short time. You might find you feel a bit less guilty the rest of the day when you are hiding in a closet for a few minutes of peace, when you pretend you didn’t hear them yell ‘Mom!’ or when you really need to work and you yet again say ‘Not now, I’m busy’. We can’t always give in large quantities, but the quality is what really matters, and if we make it achievable and realistic it can happen.