A quarter hour makes all the difference in catching that train, enjoying a cup of coffee, or (finally) packing your lunch.
Treat the first 15 minutes
after you or your spouse walks in the door as if you’ve been waiting for this all day. (Feel free to fake it.) Instead of griping about your job or the kids, offer an enthusiastic greeting, a few loving words, and a brief period of respite. The tone you set will pay off for hours.
Play with your kids.
Experts say younger children are starved for hands-on, focused playtime. Drop the cell phone, the newspaper, the Internet; set a quiet timer for 15 minutes; and play like you once did. For instance, “take a field trip to your own backyard to look for slugs and bugs, re-create the couch forts of yesterday, or just look your child in the eyes and tell her a story,” says Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, PhD, author of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. Even short bursts of interactive and imaginative play, she says, provide big developmental payoffs for kids from two to ten.