One of the things that has changed a lot for me recently, due to moving into our first home, is the amount of time I spend commuting to and from work. When we were living in our rented house near Peterborough, I would typically get home about about 6:15pm. This meant that I had a good 3 hours to spend with my daughter after work, before she went to bed. That just isn’t the case anymore.
Instead, I’m now getting back home some time between 7:30 and 8pm, depending on whether I need to go to Tesco or Lidl first. So, since my daughter goes to bed at about 9:30, that only leaves me with about an hour and a half with her. So, I’m having to find ways to spend time with her and make the most of what little time there is. Here’s how I’ve been doing it – hopefully, those of you with long commutes will find this a bit useful.
A New Bedtime Routine
My daughter’s bedtime routine used to be very simple; a bottle of milk and then we put her down. Things like giving her a bath happened during the day, my wife taking care of it whilst I was at work. However, bath time is also one of my daughter’s favourite things; she just loves having a bath.
So, in order to help me have bonding time with my daughter, we have extended her bedtime routine to include a bath, moving it from the afternoon to the late evening. This means that I can take part in one of my daughter’s favourite things, giving us quality bonding time that we wouldn’t otherwise get. By altering her routine just ever so slightly, she and I are able to make the most of the time available in a way that she enjoys.
It used to be that, after her evening meal, we would let my daughter sit and relax a bit in her chair, watching TV. However, this always meant that she would pay too much attention to the TV, at least in my opinion. So, now that I am getting home later, we changed that up as well.
Rather than sitting and watching TV for a bit before playing again, I play with her immediately.
This way, she gets to have more fun, hopefully gets to develop that little bit better, and spend some more fun and quality time with her dad. So far, she’s loving it!
All Nappy Changes Are My Duty
The final way we’ve made sure that I get as much time with my daughter after commuting is by effectively banning my wife from changing nappies, giving the milk bottle, or doing the other “generic” stuff that parents do.
Sure, I may be tired from work and the commute, but by doing all of the parenting stuff myself, not only does my wife get a rest, but I get those extra precious few minutes with my daughter.
This also includes me being the one to put her down to bed (although, naturally, she gets a goodnight kiss from Mummy too), and then checking on her every now and then to make sure she is ok until she falls asleep. The idea behind this being that she knows I am still there for her, to care for her and keep her safe. I want to make sure she still knows I will always be there for her, even if I take longer to get home now.
And That’s All Folks
Those are the three ways that I’ve been trying to maximise my quality time with my daughter since we moved. Whilst I may be spending a considerable amount more time commuting, I don’t want it to have a negative effect on the relationship I have with my daughter. She’s a Daddy’s Girl, after all. So I want to make sure I give her every second that I can before she sleeps.
Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to maximise the time you spend with you child, whilst also making sure that it is quality time? If so, let me know in comments below! It would be useful to me, and maybe to others in similar situations!