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If you have kids, care for kids, or just have some of these adorable younger relatives in your life, you want to spend time with them. You want to make memories with them and enjoy watching them grow. You want your time and efforts to be meaningful. But how can we accomplish this in this busy world we live in today?

Most parents are working outside the home and are over scheduled in many other ways. Additional responsibilities pull on us to do it all and be everywhere at the same time. We are distracted with everything from our smart phones to just trying to keep our home neat and clean. Multi-tasking (which really isn’t all that beneficial) has become expected behavior as we all try to figure out how to DO MORE within the same 24 hour day.

Regardless of all of our responsibilities beyond parenting, we seriously have to begin making more time for our children and families. If we neglect to do so, we will look up and time has taken over. We will have missed so much of our children’s lives, development, and the opportunity to build a healthy relationship with them, that we would do anything to get that time back.

I get it, you have to earn a living to financially take care of your family. I really do understand this. However, you also have an obligation to your children to make them a priority too. If this means that you have to sacrifice something in order to do this, then do it. Maybe you aren’t able to take on that additional hobby or hang out every Friday night with your friends. Or it might be waking up earlier on your days off to carve out this quality time with your family. It may even mean saying NO to some additional work requests or overtime. Money cannot become more important than our kids, there has to be a way to spend more time with them.

This GO, GO, GO life that society seems all-too-approving-of, must change. If we profess that we work hard for our families, then we have to walk that talk. Make time for your kids, and make it quality time for them, not forced time that just happened to fit into your schedule.

Quality time is not always about money either. There are a variety of free or low-cost experiences that you can create with your children if you just get creative or do a little online research. Zoos, libraries, museums, fairs, indoor/outdoor parks, and at home activities such as coloring, making simple projects, playing board games, reading books, singing/dancing, and even just taking a walk together are all some ways to spend some time with your kids that are nearly if not entirely free.

Parents that want to spend time with their kids will do it. They will not allow any of their responsibilities to interfere with their relationships with their children. Being busy is an excuse (see this article about dealing with the busyness trap). Working too much is another excuse. It has become exhausting to hear everyone continue to say that they “just don’t have enough time.”

Make time, you really can do it.

Remember that your kids are only little once. They will never be the same age or in the same stage they are in now, tomorrow. You can be a great parent by intentionally balancing your life, and you also set an excellent model for your children by being and living in a balanced way. The time you spend with your children or younger relatives will be time you will never regret.