This post is sponsored by Planetarians.
I've always been a rather health-conscious parent, but as my kids get older I'm starting to realize how much emotional health matters, too. These concepts are so intricately-woven. As important as it is to provide their bodies with nutritious food, they also need to be supported with time and patience from their parents. Kids are more willing to try new things when they come from a foundation of security and safety.
The simple act of hugging and cuddling your kids can lead them to be more open-minded people who feel confident going into the world. With a deep understanding of what it feels like to be loved, they'll view future interactions as opportunities for growth and connection.
Making Cuddle Time a Priority
Make room. We recently had to move our bed in the living room while our master bedroom got retiled. I can't say that sleeping adjacent to the kitchen is my favorite thing in the world, but it did have a positive impact: the kids were more inclined to crawl up into my arms whenever they saw me lounging around this space. We've since gotten a big ottoman that pulls up to our couch to make it more lounge-friendly and more likely to be that space that our family nestles into.
Have an arsenal of questions prepared. There's nothing worse than asking your kid how their day's going and getting a shrug or bored mumble in response. We keep Table Topics around to engage the kids with interesting questions and make it like a fun little game (it's great reading practice for the older kids, too).
Take a morning bath. Not gonna lie, I kind of dread bath time after a long day. When we've rushed around from event-to-event and we're getting home late, the last thing I want to do is get splashed with a bunch of rogue tub water. So I don't. I've made my peace with the fact that some nights are gonna be a baby-wipe-and-forget-it kind of night. If we're spending a low-key day at home after a night like that, I'll often plop my kids in the tub in the morning so they're nice and relaxed and squeaky clean for lots of lounging. It helps our nights be more low-key and our days be a little more cozy.
Make bed sheet changes hassle-free. Nothing messes with my plans for a rejuvenating couch day more than a midnight bedwetting by one of the kids. We actually have an extra bed in the boys' room for guests, so I simply plop the kids on there if they have an accident in the middle of the night. Beyond that, though, I'm a master of sheet-layering, with waterproof twin mattresses covered by a sheet protector, a sheet, a pee pad, and then another sheet and sheet protector. Yank off those top layers and you've got backup, and then the whole shebang can be washed together in the morning when things aren't so hectic. Less time spent stressing over bed and blanket issues means more time for storytelling and easier nighttime tuck-ins all-around.
Keep healthy, mess-free snacks around. We're so busy go-go-going, I often find that when we do finally sit down to take a breather, I'm utterly famished. And I'm not a happy famished person. I'm one of those hangry folks – as are my children. We've started keeping Planetarians snacks on-hand. They're made with simple, healthy stuff like sunflower meal, potato starch and sunflower oil. Whole 30 approved with 12 grams of protein (a higher percentage than in meat!) and 11 grams of fiber per serving (10 times more than in an apple!), they're our secret weapon for staying satisfied between meals. And I love their hard-sided container. It's small enough for my purse if I want to grab-and-go, but tough enough not to get crushed if the kids get rowdy.
Have jammies that you really, really love. Comfort is a big deal for us. The toddler is still potty-training, so he's ALL about rocking Paw Patrol undies and pretty much nothing else. As for me, I've found that one of the big components to comfort at home and relaxation with my family is loungewear that I'm totally smitten with. I need yoga pants or joggers and a shirt that fits just right. No more stashing promo shirts in the pajama drawer. Invest in comfort wear that you're truly comfortable in, and it'll change your whole relaxation game!
Get toys that will help them sit still. We have these tiny little rocket shooters that propel foam rockets just a couple feet. They're a bit junky, but they keep the kids entertained in one spot for more than a few seconds. The same goes for stickers, coloring activities, puzzles and even movies. The first step to getting some heartfelt one-on-one time is getting them to slow down.
How do you squeeze in more cuddle time with your kiddos?