We all have busy lives and sometimes we get distracted by the last school fundraiser or household renovation. Even with all the busy pushed into our lives, I try and make a concerted effort to build consistency within my family. Although these things don’t happen everyday, my husband and I try our hardest to make them happen on an almost daily schedule.
My children are 4 and 5, I know these things will morph as they get older and reach different milestones in their lives. However, I think a lot of these things can be easily tweeked to work with a child at any age. I know that when they were babies, these things were a bit different (not all of them.) Regardless, I really do think our purpose as parents is to teach, and raise amazing human beings. I believe these daily tasks will help.
1. Eat Breakfast With Them in the Morning.
Most of the time I’m really just having coffee while they eat cereal. There is nothing special or fancy about it. But it is pretty nice to be able to sit down and just talk with my kiddos. I feel like it really helps get there day going in a positive way and like I’ve already spent quality time with them. So if the rest of the day is super busy, I’m not consumed by as much mom guilt because I skipped spending quality time with them.
2. Give Them One Task to Complete Each Day.
This is one of those things that you will have to tailor for your child on both their age, ability and strengths. My 5 year old son loves to help out, so sometimes he gets much more than one task. However, I try and ask for a “big” task from him just to stretch his skills and give him something that challenges him. For instance, I have had him help me pull weeds, shampoo the carpet, water the garden, etc. Some things are a bit past his ability, but I think helping him tackle something a little big for him builds his confidence and pushes his limits.
3. Teach Them Something New.
This isn’t something you would have to study up for and really put a lot of work into; it’s more of taking advantage of whatever learning situation passes your way. For instance, my children are obsessed with bugs (I think most are, right?) We have all the normal kinds of bugs thriving in the backyard: bees, wasps, spiders, ladybugs, rolly pollys, etc. Whenever they encounter these bugs I try and teach them a little about the bugs. Ladybugs eat aphids and are good for gardens, wasps are also carnivorous bugs but they are not nice and can sting you, bees eat pollen from flowers and are good for the environment, etc. I just want to take the time to cherish these learning opportunities before they are no longer interested.
4. Enforce a Quiet Time.
Every day from 2 to 4 we have a quiet time. Each child goes to a private room (that has a bed) and has to lay down with a couple books and maybe a few toys. They have to play quietly or try and take a nap. This is awesome for two reasons: 1. It gives me an opportunity to have some alone time, which I need desperately. 2. It allows my children the opportunity to rest, take a nap if needed, spend time alone without another sibling or parent telling them what to do, and requires them to entertain themselves. This used to be a nap time when they were babies and toddlers. Now, it has morphed into the most glorious 2 hours of my life. Obviously our schedule does not always allow quiet time, but most days I do everything I can to implement it.
5. Give Them At Least One Hour of Screen Time
I’m not anti-screen time. In fact, I think it’s great to expose them to electronics as they will be using them for the rest of their lives. Everyday my children get the opportunity to play on their kindle, play video games on their Wii or watch some TV. They get an hour, and sometimes two, if they are watching a movie. But I allow them to do it everyday. I find that there is nothing wrong with allowing them the opportunity to veg in front of the screen for a bit. Their little bodies need rest just like ours. Plus, it removes the fascination with television that deprived children have, but the controlled amount of time makes sure they aren’t spending all day in front of the TV or computer screen.
6. Make Them Go Outside for At Least an Hour.
Rain or shine my children go outside. Even if it’s snowing, they can put on their snow suits and go play for a bit. If they are going to spend an hour in front of the TV they also need to spend some time out in the open, getting dirty, or wet or learning how to navigate a tree limb without scraping a knee. We all know the benefits of outdoor play and I want to instill a love of the outdoors.
7. Make Them Clean Up Their Toys.
This should happen every day and I try, but some days it goes to the wayside and we deal with it in the morning. With that being said, I do what I can to make sure my children are responsible for their own stuff. I make sure they clean up their toys, put clothes in the hamper, and place their dishes in the sink. It’s teaching them basic responsibility for the stuff they use.
8. Read Them a Bedtime Story Every Night
Reading has been fundamentally proven to help children academically. I have been reading to my kids since they were babies and would like to continue until they don’t let me read to them anymore (which will be a sad day!) Every night, my husband reads the kiddos a bedtime story. He’s just better and more animated than I am. I read when he’s working, or not feeling well or taking the evening off. But otherwise, he does this job and they LOVE this tradition.
9. Pray For my Children
This is an incredibly important one for me. Every day I pray for their future, their choices, that I don’t screw them up and for the day at hand. Honestly, I believe there is nothing more powerful than prayer, especially when you add action! I know not all my readers are believers, and that’s ok. Regardless, prayer is an important step for ensuring the best for my children..
What do you do daily to enrich the lives of your children? I know things change as your children grow into different seasons, and my list will change. For now, I find that the 9 things above help make positive improvements in their lives and will hopefully shape them into wonderful human beings in the future.