We all know that quality time with our loved ones is important. But in the reality of everyday life, do you find yourself without a chance to connect with your family or friends? And there are other quality times that we find ourselves needing. Parents who stay home with little ones can feel that they have plenty of quality time with their babies, but could use some good time alone or with a spouse or friends. In our busy lives, how do we connect with our kids in special ways? There are so many demands for our time. And so it’s really quite important that we choose to make special times even when life is busy.
Life really is busy
We’re all busy in some way. Jobs, community commitments, classes, hobbies – it all adds up. In our busy-ness, we tend to communicate only necessary things to our families. We talk about when it’s time to eat or to wake up. Our conversations are about homework or out-of-office. We discuss chores and responsibilities. Pick-up and drop-off times are also important topics. The necessary parts of life are the focus of most of our communication.
Even if you stay home with your kids all day (which is indeed a job, by the way), you might find that very little quality communication happens. Stay-at-home parents can also end up spending time on the necessary things and not having time or energy for the quality time that we all need. I homeschool my kids, so it seems like we’re communicating all the time. In reality, I mostly talk about what needs to be done or about what we’re learning.
And as much as we need quality time with our kids, we also need quality time to recharge a bit from being with little kids. We need time to spend with our significant others. Friendships need to be maintained. Relationships take time, and that seems to be all used up.
Make a plan
The answer to so many of the things we wish we could do is to make a plan to do them. This time issue works the same way. When we let time work itself out, it doesn’t end up leaving us any extra. But when we schedule the things that matter, we are more likely to get to them. We really do have to make special times when life is busy.
There are different ways to build important things into your schedule. Some people find great success in time blocking, where you schedule out every minute of your day. First, you fill in the things that are required, like your job or any other commitments. Then you are able to see the time that is remaining, and you can fill in what you want to do with the remaining time. It really does help us to see the hours that we have and to make a choice with what to do with those hours.
Choose a repeating time
Another way to make a plan in a less detailed way, is to pick a day and time. Maybe you could take a child out for a doughnut every other Tuesday after school. Or you could meet a friend for dinner the third Monday of each month. Perhaps your family tends to be busy with other activities at dinner time. So maybe you could figure out one time a week that you could all sit down and have a meal together.
Family meetings or simple plans
Family meetings are another way to make a plan for spending time together. Each week, you could get together to see what the schedule will be and decide what you can do together. It doesn’t even require an officially organized family meeting. Last week, while looking over what I had to do for the week, I realized that I had a day which was mostly free. My oldest child has been asking me to do a specific hike with him for a while now. So I asked him if it would work for us to do that hike on that day. We ended up getting sick last week, so we checked our schedules again and set a time for this week.
Spending time together has to be something we plan to do. Of course there is value in our everyday necessary communication, and we can also do that with more thought and intentionality. But let’s look for even a few minutes in our schedules to spend some good time just being together. Let’s make special times even when life gets busy.
Signing Time can help
At Signing Time, you can always access the Signing Time Dictionary to learn signs that will help your kids communicate. Check out the Feelings Section for signs that will help you and your children to express feelings with signs.
And at My Signing Time, we have several shows that help your kids learn signs for family relationships and the feelings that can go along with those relationships. We have Family, Feelings, and Fun in our Signing Time Classic Collection. And then there are Bonus Signs, a Sign Review video, and a Special Features video with tips for ASL Word Order to go along with Family, Feelings, and Fun. You can access all of these and a lot more with a My Signing Time digital subscription. And you can try it out for free with a 14-day free trial right here.