How to spend meaningful time with your child

These days I have been absent from social media, spending most of my time with Adelina. Although I have said in a previous post that I want to turn this blog into a career eventually, family comes first, and it's these years that are crucial for my baby. Quality time with your baby is essential, and it's something that will shape their future. 

I am aware that if I want a successful blog I need to put in the work, but I also need to be there for my daughter's problems, big and small (in this case very bad teething episode). The reason why I am doing this side hustle in the first place is to spend more time with her. It might sound greedy, but I want to be able to do both. 

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

As I was savouring our time together (despite the little tantrums), it also made me reflect on how I spend my time with her. I wasn't happy to admit it, but many times it feels like I am on autopilot. I am here, yet my mind is far away, thinking about what I will cook or what bills I need to pay. I have often seen a mother's mind being compared to a browser, with multiple open tabs. That couldn't be truer. 

On one hand, we have all this technology to help us, but it also feels like we're busier than ever. You're trying not to collapse while you're being informed that your mom and nan had it worse, so you shouldn't complain. I will write a post about ridiculous expectations from mothers another time, today I just wanted you to understand what I and many others, are juggling with. Why sometimes although it sounds simple, quality time with your kids sounds like an aspirational dream.

Before we begin, I want to make it clear that I understand getting overwhelmed, and your thoughts not being there 100%. There are still days when I play with Adelina, and in my mind, I am working on future posts or stressing about chores. But I have tried to incorporate meaningful "playdates", where she's my main focus and I don't let anything distract me.

1. Play in a clutter-free space
This might sound redundant cause once your kid brings their toys, it's over. But the mess they'll make is different from already starting in a cluttered place. For example, you know what toys or craft supplies you've got with you, so you're not stressing out about potential dangerous items. In my case, I always make sure to vacuum before and avoid small things she might put in her mouth. 

How to spend quality time with your child

2. No internet
I normally have my phone on silent, but now when we're playing, I also turn off my internet. That way I won't be distracted by Instagram or Twitter notifications. If we're being honest with ourselves, we'll see that we spend too much time on our phones. We need little social media breaks, especially when we're with our kids. 

3. Be in the present
I spend most of my time with Adelina, and I have designated playtime throughout the day. We have 2 big sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I try to choose periods when I am not doing household chores as well, so she gets my undivided attention. 

4. Don't make them do things a certain way
Kids don't see things the way we see them and therefore act differently. For instance, we might look at some blocks and try to make an elaborate construction. But a child might not want that. They don't want accuracy and something impressive, they want to have fun. By all means, teach them the right way to do something, but before let them do it their way. 

5.Let them choose the activities 
This doesn't apply to me entirely cause Adelina is a baby. But when she'll be older, she will be able to choose whether she wants to paint or play with dolls/cars, etc. I think that it's vital to let children make their own decisions early on. If it's their choice they'll be more inclined to do something, or at least that's what parenting books are telling me.

6. Focus on the experience and not the outcome
Adelina is at that age when she's learning really fast, and therefore I try to play many educational games with her. We play with blocks, we're learning from Usborne books, and so on. But I also let her play silly games, that offer no value, at least to me. 

How to spend meaningful time with your child

I am not a parenting guru, and I have only been a mother for a year, so I know this might not be an expert post. But I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope you found it useful. I am trying to write more about things that I am passionate about, not only those I am "qualified" to write about. 

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