Got five minutes? Then you’ve got plenty of time to give your little ones pure, undivided attention – and have fun doing it!
1. Poke holes in the bottom of an empty margarine/butter tub using an ice pick. At bath time, help your child fill the tub with water and make it rain in the tub! Sing the family favorite: “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed with a bump on his head and didn’t wake up until morning.”
2. Snip several drinking straws into various lengths. Keep them in a Ziploc bag and when you’re stuck in a doctor’s office waiting room, help your child organize the straw pieces from shortest to longest. Remember to start slow. Toddlers may need to start with three pieces. Increase level of difficulty by following your child’s lead.
3. Turn on some fun music and have a dance party. There’s nothing any child loves more than seeing mom or dad get silly. Sing along at the top of your lungs, even if you do sing off key. And whatever you do, just dance! Kids will have a blast and cherish those memories forever.
4. Get down on your hands and knees and see the world as your child sees it. Point out all the wonders you can find as you explore your home together. You might be surprised at all you’ve been missing by not getting down on their level.
5. Get nurtured by nature. Take a walk…and take time to share your child’s wonder. The best time to walk is after a rainstorm. Jump in puddles, help earthworms find their way back to the garden, listen to the birds and see if you can find them in the trees. Count new spring flowers (early crocus blooms are already popping up in my neck of the woods). Collect treasures. Smell various flowers and trees (did you know some pine trees smell like vanilla?). Savor the day.
Don’t forget tickle fights, pillow fights, stories, and snuggles. Hugs, high fives, and happy smiles. Even a simple thumbs-up can make all the difference in a day.
Whatever you do, try to take time to look your child directly in the eye and really listen when they talk to you. Turn off the computer, tv, cell phone. Let your little ones know that they matter most to you. This holds true for children of all ages — as we all know that even tweens and teens really do want your undivided attention. Give them every reason to believe, without a doubt, that you are on their side in this world.