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For the Working Parent: How to Make the Most Out of Your Weeknights With Your Children

Ever felt guilty of not paying your children enough attention after a long day of work? Fret not! We’re here to help you get started with your weeknight bonding sessions.

Put down your phone.

Focus on your children once you get home by putting your phones away. Our devices tempt us to respond immediately to our work when we should be present with our children. By staying connected to your office 24/7, you will find yourself giving partial attention to your child and being less productive at work [1]. While we are experts at multitasking, doing both is not helpful at all.

“I hate my mom’s phone and I wished she never had one [2]”, was the response a 2nd grader in Louisiana gave when asked about an invention they wish had never been created. This sentiment was shared amongst 4 out of 21 students in the class. Your children know when you spend more time on your phone than with them, and all they want is for you is to give them your undivided attention.

Let’s not be prisoners of our smartphones. You can always wait until your child is in bed before you catch up on emails or your social media. Not only will you get more quality time with your child, you’ll also be more efficient at finishing your work and you’ll have uninterrupted alone time at the end of the day.

Let your children help you cook.

You’d probably be thinking that it would be much easier and faster to do it alone. But why not take advantage of the time to be with your children instead of chasing them out of your kitchen? Not only do you get a kitchen assistant, you will also be teaching them how to cook – an important life skill, how to take care of themselves and how to eat healthy [3].

Start by giving them simple tasks like washing the rice and vegetables, and gradually, they’ll be able to put a breaded fish into hot oil without flinching. While this may seem daunting at first, but soon they can look at any restaurant dishes and say “I can make that too!” This “can do” attitude can carry a child beyond the kitchen [4].

You will start getting to know your children, and they you, better while cooking together. Get to understand each other’s habits, preferences and pet peeves. You may even start sharing recipes, techniques, and anecdotes once they grow older [5]. Show them that there is fun beyond the screens and start by inviting them to join you in the kitchen today!

Create a bedtime routine.

It’s not just brushing teeth, getting dressed and going to bed. It’s about adding that extra personal time in your routine to get the most out of your weeknights.This could be reading a book with your child and then climbing into his bed to have a quick chat about his day. This is a precious time of vulnerability and connection for you and your child [6].

More often than not, they would share with you the things troubling them, situations that made them happy, or if they were hurt today. Give your child a tight hug and let them know you are there for them. These intimate moments will be the ones you’ll miss once they grow up.

You could also set a no-device bedtime routine with the plano app. Schedule daily device usage limits and spend your precious weeknights with your children device-free! Spend some quality time together and have a pleasant end to your busy day.

References
[1] Mejia, C. (2019, March 11). 5 Ways Parents Make Evenings Really Count. Fatherly. https://www.fatherly.com/parenting/productivity-make-most-of-evening-family-time/
[2] May, A. (2018, May 24). I wish my mom’s phone wasn’t invented, 2nd grader writes in school project. Usatoday. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/05/24/2nd-graders-tell-teacher-wish-mom-phone-wasnt-invented/640059002/
[3] C. (2017, December 13). Working Mom Hacks: 4 Ideas to Make the Most of Weeknights. Iowa City Moms. https://iowacity.momcollective.com/2017/12/13/working-mom-hacks-weeknights/
[4] Dell’Antonia, K., & Laskey, M. (2015, September 2). Cooking With Kids: 5 Reasons You Should Be Doing It. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/dining/cooking-with-kids-5-reasons-you-should-be-doing-it.html
[5] Dell’Antonia, K., & Laskey, M. (2015, September 2). Cooking With Kids: 5 Reasons You Should Be Doing It. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/dining/cooking-with-kids-5-reasons-you-should-be-doing-it.html
[6] Alexander, C. (2019, July 29). Why you should make bedtime routine with your kids a priority. Aleteia. https://aleteia.org/2019/07/29/why-you-should-make-bedtime-routine-with-your-kids-a-priority/



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