Big Kids

'Bonding doesn’t have to cost money': how to turn chores into quality time

Mum and blogger, Jessica Martin-Weber, certainly has her hands full with seven daughters. 

Still, she and her husband do their best to make sure that each of them get quality time with every girl. 

The quality time, as in many houses, could comprise of a trip to the coffee shop or even the movies.

But Jessica noticed a problem with this: 

"Sure, we loved doing those things with our kids and it was fun to do as a special way to spend time together. But it suddenly seemed as though our kids wanted to spend time with us just to get the treat, not necessarily to be with us.

Not to mention it was expensive and we had things to do like housework and exercise and cooking."

She says that by treating bonding time as reasons to take trips away or buy new toys, they were creating an expectation that this is what bonding is about: 

"Those things are fine but they aren't the only way to have meaningful shared experiences. Expecting that meant we were all missing out on building connection in the day to day, we weren't seeing that it wasn't just what we were doing that made something special, it was that we were doing it together."

So the family decided to change this, not without some resistance at first: .

"With enthusiasm, I suggested how about we do the dishes together? Or work in the garden? Go for a walk? Make a meal together?

Not surprisingly, my ideas were met with… reluctance. And disgust. I can’t say I blame them. A movie or ice cream does sound way more fun." 

Jessica continued to say that some of her most treasured memories with her husband are doing mundane tasks, so she decided to apply that attitude to the children: 

"Gardening, sorting through clothes, laundry, tackling the sock box, dishes, scrubbing the bathtub, going for walks, building a headboard, sweeping and mopping sing-a-longs, baking bread, etc., turned out to be great ways to share together. The company made the task pleasurable and the pride and sense of accomplishment in our productivity was sweeter than ice cream.

It has taken time and practice to be comfortable with doing work together and considering it special time together but years later, we have found that we enjoy a wide variety of experiences together."

She continues that despite making chore time special, they still go to the movies and eat ice cream, but they "aren’t our only option."

Today, Jessica shared, her quality time change worked: 

"Today the 7 year old came home and expressed how she was torn between getting to spend some one on one time with me doing dishes or going with daddy to do grocery shopping. Not a word about getting ice cream or going to see a movie." 

All time together can be quality time with the right attitude and this family have it down! 

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