7 Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Preschooler

Parents only have a handful of years with their little ones before full-time schooling starts. Make the most of those days with these tips on how to bond with your preschooler.

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Screen Time Stats

by: Jae Curtis

When you've got a busy schedule, it's all too easy to plop your preschooler in front of Dora the Explorer. But according to the University of Michigan Health System, the average preschooler takes in about 32 hours of TV, videos and DVDs each week. While you might be tired, there are a few ways to spend some quality time with your preschooler without completely burning yourself out.

Get Cooking

You probably have to make dinner anyway—why not turn it into some quality time? Measuring out ingredients and chatting while you work together can give you the opportunity to connect with your child away from the TV room. If you're worried about your little one slowing down the process, have a few simple jobs that are easy for little hands, like using the salad spinner or pouring in a pre-measured ingredient.

Skip the Carpool

When you're carting your preschooler to and from various activities, it's easy to go into autopilot, listen to your music and get to point A to point B without much thought. But if you have a few extra minutes and the location is close, try skipping the car and walking, using a wagon or riding a scooter to get there. You'll get some extra time to talk to your little one, and when the weather's nice, there's no end to the stuff to see, hear and talk about.

Make Family Night Plans

Soccer practice, gymnastics, after-school meetings and everything else can mean little room for quality time with your little one. Family time is every bit as important as that trip to the dentist. If you make family time a priority for just one night each week, you'll go to bed feeling like Supermom. Whether it's a family video game night, a walk around the block or a board game, your preschooler will love the one-on-one time, and you’ll have the rest of the week to plan for your activities and appointments.

Set a Timer

Try setting a timer for quality time with your preschooler. This works especially well when you're trying to get something done with your preschooler demanding attention. Instead of shooing her away, stop what you're doing and say "Okay, you have 10 minutes—what do you want to do?" Then, let her choose an activity, and give her 10 minutes of your devoted attention doing what she wants. When time’s up, find her an independent activity and head back to what you were doing.

Plan a Special Day

If you have more than one child, your preschooler can get lost in the shuffle. By instituting a "special day," your preschooler gets a day that's all her own. Just take a peek at your calendar and divvy up the days how you'd like—each child can take a day each week. On their day, that child gets to eat from a special plate, is in charge of the remote or the music in the car and chooses the family activity. Even doing this once a month can make your preschooler feel like a star as you focus on her.

Read Together

Okay, so it might not be the most original idea, but never underestimate the power of a good book. Reading to your preschooler helps build literacy skills, but it also gives you time to bond over all your old favorites. Head to the library and load up on classics that you loved as a kid—whether a picture book or a novel—and read for a few minutes together. Not only does it give you time together, but it gives you something to discuss, which also supports reading comprehension.

Redefine Pillow Talk

When you think about "pillow talk," you probably picture discussing the day with your spouse when you finally collapse into bed. But before you snuggle in next to your honey, try snuggling next to your preschooler before bed. Chatting with your child right before bed can spark some amazing conversation and feed your preschooler with the physical affection that she craves from you. End the day on a high note and you'll feel better about your parenting skills.

Additional Ideas

Hey, a little after-preschool Dora isn’t going to hurt your child. In fact, it might save your sanity in the process. Just make sure that somewhere in your day, you take a minute to slow down and enjoy some quality time with your preschooler, because before long, she'll be off to kindergarten.

For more ideas for hands-on bonding, check out more of our preschool activities.

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