Family time! Minus the chaos of you having to multitask and complete 5 different chores at the same time. Yes, family time is that moment of the day when you lay back, relax, not use your outdoor voice, and enjoy the company of your kid without remembering their laundry that breeds on its own.
The secret of a successful family lies in spending quality time together. There are numerous benefits of it, namely:
- Strengthening marital bond between spouses.
- Forming strong bonds between the whole family.
- Improving academic and social performance of children.
Here are some ways parents can optimise their family time with kids:
1. Pray in jama’ah
Offer salah with your child at least once a day if he/she has reached that age. Even if they haven’t reached the age. If they can’t do so yet, they could watch you pray and afterwards you could teach the relevant du’as and Surahs. The brain of children are porous sponges that soak up knowledge, habits, words and personalities. We want our kids to soak up the best habits from their earliest memories. This will be a beautiful childhood memory and one that’s built on the worship of Allah’azza wa jall. What memory can be better than that!
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2. Eat together
Mealtime is an excellent opportunity to connect with your children and has several health benefits for both including release of good hormone oxytocin and less chance of developing eating disorder. When you are done whipping up your best work in the kitchen, please take some time to get fresh and feel good too. The last thing we want is our kids to see that cooking gets us demotivated and tired. These hidden emotions which we don’t speak of but show through body language send subliminal messages to our children. Eating time is bonding time. Off course you are fatigued and stressed about a bajillion things, but eating is a moment of peace , calm and sharing emotions. Show them you are in control and they will learn self management. Get them involved and they will appreciate and respect your hard work. If you are a working mom and they attend schools, dinner time most likely will be the only feasible hour. Get the convo goin’! Ask about their day, offer them any help or advice if needed, share something funny you learnt or heard. Don’t forget about the little ones – include them in the convo too!
You can schedule reading sessions with the kid(s),it can be at the evening or at bedtime. If the day has been too exhausting, keep the session short; probably 10 minutes or less. You can read a hadith and offer a short explanation; or a small chapter of any child appropriate book. Remember about their super absorbable brain! Early years is the time we want to instill in them good habits.
4. Play Games
Board games are not only a perfect indoor activity on a rainy day (sunny day too) but also teaches a lot of real-life skills which include decision making, analytical thinking and problem solving. If they seem a bit too advanced, you could try puzzles. Scrabble anyone? Got alot of video games? Ditch them and show the kiddos how we used to do them back in the day. Playing video games is good but for very short amount of time and with control over what they are seeing when they play video games. Latest games are filled with vulgar violence, include adult themes, fowl language and many other nasty parts we just don’t want to expose our kids to now.
5. Do chores Together
KIDS NEED TO LEARN CHORES AND SELF MANAGEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY.
I can not stress this enough. Kids who grow up without learning any chores think everything in life should just be handed to them. The real world includes a very large portion of learning to do one’s own personal work. This includes the nitty gritty house work. Too many kids these days are spoiled with the thought that momma’s always gonna do their dirty chores. When these kids get older they are too old to be made right. And now who is to blame? Let your kids play around with kid sized brooms, mops, cleaners and safe cleaning objects. When they are old enough to know not to drink bleach then designate easy tasks to be done DAILY. Make a check list to help them remember and learn accountability. Gift prizes and gifts to keep them motivated. Let’s face it, chores aren’t exactly fun. But they need to get done anyway, so why not make things a bit easier for yourself by including your little helpers while you’re at it? You get to work as a team and at the same time they learn new life skills. Turn it into a little competition for fun.
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6. Go Out
The world is a mysterious place give to us to learn from. Every corner has some history or nature to explore. Walk barefoot on grass, smell the air over the ocean, dance in the rance, roll in the snow. The world is outside of our doors. Visit the local museum/planetarium/zoo during the holidays. You can quiz the kids on what they have learned there and the winner could get a small treat.You could also go on a picnic to the the local park; enjoy the nature and ponder how beautifully and perfectly Allah ‘azza wa jall has created everything. If there’s no park nearby, go on a roadtrip to somewhere far. Appreciate animals and teach your kids to love and look after wild animals and pets.
Plants are amazing creations from God that provide us literally everything we need from life. Gardening is just a lovely way to introduce plants to our kids. Gardening is an interesting activity for the entire family and one that offers many benefits. Well, for starters, you get to eat your home-grown produce which is healthier than its store-bought counterparts. If you have planted flowers, you can enjoy a beautiful view from your room everyday. Plus, kids get to learn how plants work and how to care for them.
8. Cook and bake
This goes along with eating together. Cooking time brings people together. It is a base, a foundation of love and sharing. Once or twice a week (or everyday please!) opt for making some simple, kid-friendly recipes. Invite your children to join you. Maybe they could tear the greens to pieces while you organise the other ingredients. If you bake cookies, let them mix the batter in a bowl. They will feel included and appreciate their food more,all the while creating some beautiful memories with you to cherish.
What ideas can you suggest for some amazing together time? Share with us in the comments below!