A 10-Minute Routine for Closer Connections with Our Kids

If you have kids, you have probably felt overwhelmed at times at their neediness. They always need something. And it doesn’t stop when they can dress and feed themselves. Their needs just get deeper and more twisty and harder to figure out. Gah! And if you’re like me, you don’t feel like you have time to give each the individual attention they long for.

My husband and I started offering 10 minutes each night to one kid on a rotation. We call this time “10 minutes” because we are very creative. This might sound like a pittance to give our kids, but it has actually been really fruitful for us, so I’m sharing it here in case it helps another family.

Let me paint the scenario.

It’s bedtime, it’s been a long day, and I still have all of my adult stuff to do. Not that adult stuff, I mean like dishes. I may have been home ALL DAY with these precious people but I am still not having the one-on-one time that they need to feel heard and valued. And it weighs on me! But I cannot, just cannot get into a one hour discussion with a child about their favorite princess at this hour. It will KILL ME. So what do I do? Usually nothing. It’s more like, “Get in bed, sleepy head, don’t come out of your room, or bugs will eat you.” Because I am just DONE.

We have done other one-on-one activities with our kids like date nights or bike rides, but in certain seasons of life it’s hard to be consistent because of schedules or other pressing needs.

This is why I think 10 minutes with one kid per day has been effective:

  • Even on my hardest days, I can manage to give 10 more minutes.
  • Unlike kid date nights, I can commit to it every night, so the kids can count on it.
  • 10 minutes every few nights adds up to more than 20 hours a year per kid (I have 3).
  • It’s focused and intentional, so it’s more powerful than the times we’re just around them.
  • It increases their trust and openness toward us so we’re more connected throughout the days.
  • Because we only do it with one kid a night, it feels special.
  • Great for ALL 3 of our kids (different ages)

Here’s how we implement it.

My husband and I spend this time with them together. They get two sets of eyes just staring at them and they LOVE it. We usually sit on our bed with them because that’s their preference. We let the kid lead the discussion. This isn’t a time for discipline or lengthy parent sermons. We usually just say, “What do you want to talk about?”

They don’t always talk. Sometimes, a kid just wants to lie on the bed between us in silence. One of them always wants to play a game. Another looks at us suspiciously for awhile and says, “What do you want to talk about??” and finally opens up with 1 minute left. Sometimes we have a really deep conversation that goes much longer, and that’s fine if that is what’s needed. The 10 minutes provided the outlet for them to share and know they would have our ears.

The key is they have our full attention for that time.

Undivided attention, no iPhones, or other kids talking over them. I spend a LOT of time with these kiddos and look into their little eyes all the time. But their10 minutes with us feels different to them. It’s not about what I’m needing to tell them. It’s about them.

How do you make space for regular quality time with your kids? Share it in the comments.

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  • Reply Angie January 5, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Thanks Margarita! It’s hard for them to stop our 10-minute time sometimes. But as it’s become routine, they know they are going to get more time with us so they don’t feel as clingy or anxious about it. We also try to set the expectation that we set the time for 10 minutes so that dad and I can have time together too, as he has to wake up really early and goes to bed early. I think it helps for them to understand the “Why” behind it. One of our kids has a hard time going to sleep so I will also lie down with her when she goes to bed to help with the transition.

  • Reply Amy Jo January 12, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Intentional. Impressive. What a gift for your girls!

    • Reply Angie January 12, 2018 at 1:16 am

      Thanks Amy Jo! I would love if it these kinds of interactions came more naturally, but I feel like if we don’t plan it, it doesn’t happen, at least not often enough.

  • Reply Yannah January 12, 2018 at 1:09 am

    I love this! You’re very funny girlfriend!

    • Reply Angie January 12, 2018 at 1:16 am

      Thanks Yanah!

  • Reply Melone January 12, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Love This!!!!!!!!!

    • Reply Angie January 12, 2018 at 1:16 am

      Thank you, Melone!

  • Reply Kelli Jo January 12, 2018 at 1:09 am

    GREAT idea, Angie! Even though at the end of the day I too am DONE, I think I could stretch for 10 minutes. The Mom and Dad together idea is new to me and I like how you share the ways you’ve noticed this time seems big to your kids. Going to try this one with my little people. Maybe even find a way to do it with our grown, out of the house kids. I LOVE it that you are doing a blog. You are so real, honest, and full of great ideas! I, for one, am signing up!

    • Reply Angie January 12, 2018 at 1:17 am

      Thanks Kelli Jo!

  • Reply Margarita January 12, 2018 at 1:10 am

    Love this! So how do you keep the 10 minutes from turning into the 60 minute princess talk? How do you close when you need to close and they don’t?

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