Slipping through the cracks: How to spend more time with my 5-8 year old?

5 to 8 year olds

I’ve finally made it! I have time! Got the kid in school, no more diapers, no more helping feed them.

You take a gigantic sigh of relief.

Those early days of diaper blow outs, falling-on-the-floor tantrums, and your own thoughts of I-just-can’t-wait-til-naptime are all starting to fade. But you may notice other things starting to fade also. Like singing your kids to sleep, taking lots of time reading to them or coloring with them, coming up with fun crafts that you take photos of even when the result is quite the opposite of how it should look.

What happened to those things you used to do so consistently as a brand new mom? Yes, you hated playing trains but you did it anyway! So now that it’s Legos, why do you not even consider playing alongside?

I’ll tell you why, and it’s not necessarily that you have become a lazy mom when it comes to (yes I must use the term) quality time with your kids. Yes, you might be lazy, but I’m not here to write about that. What has happened is (in a word) sustentation. What that means is you have found a level of balance and survival that has cut out other things that in the beginning

seemed great.

It was great.

But has lost its place among all the wear and tear of child-raising and mothering. Somewhere inside I’ve felt, not actively reasoned, but felt those moments of quality time are expendable. After all I have to have some sanity right? Some sleep? Some… me.

They are old enough to occupy themselves. They are old enough to understand that mommy HAS to make their dinner, wash their clothes, prepare their homeschool lessons (or review their homework), and order their vitamins. Not out of bitterness but it’s real. They can’t possibly expect me to play their made up card game, play tag with them outside or sit and build Legos with them at the Lego club. That’s a whole hour I can go grocery shopping (y’know for food for them).

Now…
of course your kids know the demands on mommy. And yes, your demands may be so much more than when they were younger – you probably have more kids now and that would definitely mean less of you to go around. You also may be working outside the home now. Of course there are times of just sustaining yourself and them. I’m not talking about those crunch times.

I’m talking to the mom who, maybe like me, had such an unpleasant crash landing into motherhood creation and finally acknowledged something had to go, but chose the wrong things to let go. Now realizing this, she wonders if there is a way getting back without inviting in the burden of earlier days.

So yes! I feel certain the “mom-involved” childhood days don’t have to slip through the cracks. They are still relevant and they always will be. Even as teens and young adulthoods, your son or daughter will appreciate the time you are able to put in and will still NEED you. Perhaps now is an even better time than before, since your 5-8 year old is old enough to remember and appreciate time with you.

How do you do it? Simple.
Ask your child what he would like to do with you? So simple.

Now that your child is older he can tell you what he would like. You can explain to him your desires. Just talk. I have asked mine if they would still like me to sing at night, yes. I let them know I can’t go outside every time with them, but I make an effort to surprise them, and they are always happy to see me. Ask him if he would like you to read at night again and explain it can’t be every night (if that’s the case). I let mine know right upfront I do not read stories before bed on the nights we go to church because it’s late and I’m wiped. If they are playing a game ask them if you can join.

Just ask and explain the limitations and I promise you WILL spend more quality time with your child.

2 comments on “Slipping through the cracks: How to spend more time with my 5-8 year old?

  1. Excellent post. As a mother of 6 ages 17-3 years old I do struggle with this especially my 7 year old. Life is just so busy. But I try to squeeze in time to still play with them but it is not nearly as much time as I would like. I especially like when we sneak in quality time when I am making dinner and they sit and chat with me while cutting up veggies. Time goes by so quickly!

    1. Thanks Margaret! It’s so easy to let time just slip by but it sounds like you are doing amazingly wonderful. I will keep that in mind, chatting during dinner prep.

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