Miracles Happen: Balancing Time with Your Children
How did we get here? It started with cuddles and sweet baby breath and then we blinked and now we are juggling 3 extra curriculars, and homework. Somewhere along the way, smiles that melted our hearts turned into meltdowns. Time with our children got away from us and it feels like it would take a miracle to get it back.
All stages of parenting children are beautiful and there is joy in each one but the “hards” change and problems can no longer be solved by cuddles and some milk (if only!). A 2018 study on parenting revealed that parents get an average of 32 minutes of free time a day. Just 32 minutes! You’re probably reading this and thinking “okay, but I don’t even have THAT much time, 32 minutes would be a luxurious day at the spa.” After we do work and parenting responsibilities, how do we make the most of the little free time we do have? I’m sure your first answer mirrors mine: I want to sit in a dark room with tiny chocolates and no one touching me. While this sounds amazing, I recognize this is not a productive use of my time and I won’t walk away from that moment feeling a better connection with my child. So, if I don’t want my child to act out or isolate to receive affection from me and chocolate isn’t the miracle I need, what is? Let me suggest the Ten Minute Miracle.
In the Big Little Feelings parenting course “Winning the Toddler Stage”; they discuss how spending just 10 minutes, one on one, with our kids will help them feel closer to us, leading to less kick back or acting out for attention. The good news is that The Ten Minute Miracle doesn’t have to be complex or really deep. It’s just handing over the reins to your child and saying “I have 10 minutes of just YOU. What do you want to do together?” They get to decide. Maybe it’s playing video games, painting nails, coloring, going on a walk, playing with dolls, etc. You have to let your child lead the way and invite you into THEIR world. The only catch here is that you have to be a willing participant. No phone in front of your face, no juggling other chores, nothing. As the parent you have to model the desired behavior.
There are two key factors to successfully executing the Ten Minute Miracle: time and frequency. There will be instances where you don’t have ten minutes. Maybe you only have 5. That’s okay! The point is to show up for your kids and meet their needs where they are at. If 5 is all you have then 5 minutes will be enough. How often should we do this? The goal is to get to once a day. That’s just a little over an hour a week. But we can tweak this to fit your schedule. Maybe it’s just once a day with a different kid so each child is getting 20-30 min a week of your time. Or maybe it’s just 2 times a week because your work schedule runs later than their bedtime. Again, the purpose is to facilitate moments of connection. Showing up for your kids (even just once a week!) consistently is going to have the biggest impact.
You are a good parent. If the Ten Minute Miracle sounds daunting, be encouraged that you are taking a step forward just by reading this and you will continue to take steps forward by implementing this and other strategies into your time with your children. Remember to take care of yourself so you can be present with your kids. Maybe one day those entire 32 minutes are dedicated to you sitting in a dark room eating tiny chocolates with no one touching you, and that is fine. If you are working to connect with your kids more times than not, you are fighting the good fight.
Study Finds. (2022, April 13). Average parent enjoys just 32 minutes of free time each day, survey finds. Study Finds. LINK
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