To make the most of the time you have, follow these tips, adapted from Diana Loomans' new book, What All Children Want Their Parents to Know: 12 Keys to Raising a Happy Child (New World Library, 2005).
1. Book time now
Set aside one day a month on your calendar for spending with your child. Make this block of time as important as any other appointment – not to be changed unless there's an emergency, that way your child knows how important this special time really is.
2. Practise being a "revel-master"
Every child over the age of one recognizes the symptoms of half-listening syndrome – the tense or distracted expressions and the rote responses parents use to acknowledge whatever is being said: "Hmm," "Not right now" or "Can’t you see Mommy (or Daddy) is busy?" Take the time to revel in your child and give her your undivided attention, even if it's only for a few minutes on your busiest days.
3. Turn quality time into quantity time
Since we all have to spend so many hours a week doing perfunctory tasks, we should find as many ways as possible to make these moments fun and meaningful. Make a game of putting toys away with your kids and crank up the music and sing as your child helps you do housework.
• Baby 101: Bonding
• Are you sure you treat your daughters and sons the same way?
• Finding a healthy balance: The single-parent formula
This story was originally titled "Make the Time Count" in the February 2006 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
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