One of my first introspective conundrums in motherhood came when my maternity leave ended. I had this child who was becoming more aware of his surroundings and what he was doing every day. I was feeling the weight of work, balancing life, and for the first time wondered how my child was seeing his time spent with me. As the mommy guilt crept in I kept reminding myself that it is really about the quality of time spent and less about the quantity, and I decided to make every moment with him count.
When I made the big decision to leave my full-time job and start freelancing, blogging, and spending the bulk of my time with my baby I felt like I’d have all the quality time in the world! However, it only took a couple weeks for a consulting gig, new exciting content opportunities, and some selfish pursuits to start to take up more of my time than I originally thought. Even though I was physically present with Mack all day every day, I had days where I felt like I’d barely seen him. It made me realize that many stay-at-home-moms have seasons of life where there is quantity, but not quality in the time they spend with their children.
Something pretty great came of this, I started to think about the moments I get with my baby and began to focus my efforts on concentrated, intentional quality time with him instead of just going through motions of chores and daily tasks. So today I wanted to share with you five easy ways to make sure you’re spending quality time with your infant, no matter how busy your schedule is.
1. Find your child’s love language and make sure you speak it every single day. I definitely buy into the 5 Love Languages for adults- Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Gifts, and Words of Affirmation, but I never thought of it with a baby until Mack was literally screaming for his every single day. He’s a physical touch baby. I’m not joking when I say the quality of his day seems to depend on the quality of snuggles he’s had from his parents. From the time he was a few weeks old, if I’d get busy doing other things and wouldn’t spend some time on the couch just holding him, he’d cry until I’d do just that. The older he gets the more he expresses his joy and excitement each time he sees me pick him up, put my arms around him, and just snuggle. Even when I change his diaper and use Huggies Little Snugglers diapers, he thinks he’s being swaddled and gets a little excited. I love that they have the Gentleabsorb® liner, a wetness indicator, a pocket-back waistband that prevents links, and that I can pick them up at Fry’s while I’m grocery shopping. He loves the outer cover and that they feel like his favorite swaddle! I love that they are so gentle on his sensitive little skin, and that I get to include them in helping him feeling physically loved!
I know not every kid adores physical touch as much as my child, but I do honestly believe they all have a love language that starts to stand out at a couple months old, and speaking it to them early lets them know you are all about the quality interactions they need to feel loved.
2. Don’t just get through the routines, turn them into moments where you’re present and spending intentional moments with your child. I particularly noticed during diaper changes I was just getting down to business and changing the diaper as fast as I could and then onto the next thing- but I’ve learned that it’s the perfect time to have a few conversations on the changing table. I now take about five more minutes each diaper change and take my time to look him in the eyes, to talk to him, and to let him know I’m emotionally present and available. Something pretty sweet has happened, he’s chatting back at me! He may only know two words, but he babbles up a storm after I turn and ask him a question and look into his eyes while he’s up on the changing table. I know one day this will turn into actual words and conversations, and I honestly believe it will be the foundation that starts good communication and his opening up to me. I can hardly believe what a few extra minutes and intentional time is doing for us already!
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3. Read to your children. I think this one seems obvious, but before I made this change I realized there were days I went the entire day without one single book. I have such vivid memories of my mother reading to me. I think all children really enjoy this time together, and cherish these moments when the world turns to their level and their point of interest. Sometimes a book takes a minute to read, but it can make a huge difference for a child! Making sure there’s at least one book a day wherever you can fit it in makes a quality moment that will be remembered not matter how long or short it may be.
4. Get down on the floor with them and engage in playtime. This can look different for a lot of people. Some people actually play and make believe with their children, while others know this isn’t their jam. However, facilitating their play is something that still brings moments of bonding and moments where you enter their little world. Help them pull out the train set and set it up for a minute. Ask them to tell you about it. Let them know their world is important to you too. However you do it is up to you, but make sure you get down on their level, with their toys (it’s the important things they have jurisdiction over in their world), and let them know you care about the things they care about.
5. Schedule actual time to be together and do something you both enjoy together. This can be reading or snuggling, but I can see as my baby gets older he’s enjoying actual activities- grocery shopping, having me hold his hands and walk him around the house, and going for runs/walks in the jogging stroller, being near me when I make dinner, etc. On the days he’s fussy and not teething or sick my husband usually asks if we went for a walk that day and the answer is always no. He knows the difference! Even if I’m short on time it’s amazing how even a few intentional moments of singing time, being active together, or doing any other planned activity strengthens the bond and lets him know he’s loved.
No matter what state of life you’re in- full-time work, part-time work, home full-time, sharing custody of your child, etc. I can’t emphasize enough it really is quality over quantity, and these small intentional moments, whatever you can do and in whatever quantity, really make all the difference in the life of your child!
“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KrogerLittleSnugglers http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV”