6.21.2008

3 Ways for working parents to spend more time with young kids

1. Early to bed, early to rise.

Aside from the "early to bed, early" to rise cliche you've always heard, going to bed and rising early will maximize the time you have to spend with your baby or young child. This aligns you more with their sleep patterns so you are both awake during more of the same hours.

I wake up early so I can spend time with my boy before I leave for work, and I love it. I take him for walks in the morning with our dog and it's great quality time that gets us both lots of fresh air. Not only does it increase my time with him, it de-emphasizes work by fitting in more activity in my day before I ever even arrive at the office. I find that I am no longer waking up and rushing out the door, but enjoying my home and family more before I start my professional day.

2. Utilize your lunch time better.

A properly utilized lunch time is a great way to increase your time with your kids. I've done this in three primary ways:
a: Finish any errands or tasks during your lunch time that you would otherwise do at night. This will free up your evenings and reduce the number of things which may infringe your time together.

b: Visit your child during your lunch time or have them come to you if the other parent is able to drive them. My wife and son visit me quite often at noon and I love seeing them. I always have a good time, even if we just run errands together, and it really breaks up my day.

c: If your work schedule is flexible enough, try taking a shorter lunch period or working through lunch and get out early. I often try to get into the office early because I get up early (see #1) , take half a lunch and head on home to see my boy.

3. Feed them.

Having dinner together as a family is a great bonding time. It is time well spent together and gives you the opportunity to be part of the child's routine. Meals are a significant part of a child's day and by being part of one, you are taking a major role in your child's life. For me, feeding my son is a messy and time consuming endeavor, but he's happy and interactive during the process so it's great quality time.

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