Use the Kitchen as a Gathering Place
When it comes to how to spend quality time with kids, one of the most natural gathering places for a family is the kitchen. It’s where you can create beautiful memories with mom and dad … and good food! If you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table, enlist the whole family with tasks to do — you’ll get dinner done faster, teach new skills, and have easy conversations about how the day went. It’s an easy way to create family time on the fly.
For snack time, we love Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen snack recipes because they’re meant to do with kids. You can have 5-10 minutes of quality time with your child helping you make something delicious.
Dessert time is another opportunity to make time for each other. You could whip up together a quick treat with Pillsbury™ Purely Simple™ baking and frosting mixes that have no colors, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. And then while the dessert is baking, you could get in some homework time. Later, you can sit together and chat over the dessert.
Photo courtesy Pillsbury
Set Aside a Family Night
Another way to spend quality time with your family is to make it a weekly habit. Set aside every Monday night, for example, as a family night. Avoid scheduling other activities for that evening and, instead, dedicate it to doing activities together.
These nights can be as simple and inexpensive. Ideas include playing board games, taking a walk to the park together to play basketball, or even just hot cocoa and a puzzle. You can also read aloud to your children (reading outloud ideas in our article here as well as our bedtime story recommendations here). Whatever you do, encourage your kids to do things away from screens if possible. (And here’s more info on how to help your child have technology balance.)
Create Traditions That Last
Another more long-term idea is to create traditions that are part of your family. One of the benefits of spending time with your child is that repeating traditions develops a love of spending time together. And as your children age, they will set aside time to be together because of their love for these traditions.
Many traditions are created around holidays — such as special meals for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Valentine’s Day is a fun day to create a pancake breakfast tradition.
Religious observances also provide opportunity for family traditions, as well as going to church with each other every week.
Maybe your family has a love of sports. You can pick a team to follow — could be a high school team or professional team. Another idea is that once a month your family goes to the soup kitchen together to give service.
Whatever traditions you choose, they become traditions because you repeat them year after year and enjoy doing them together (hopefully!). You can also ask your children for ideas. What do they think are the traditions your family is developing?
(Updated from original article on 12/20/16.)