DS does love the occasional Ribena so I was disappointed that our recent holiday co-incided with an event they were holding to create a new Twelve Minute Manual on play for their website.
This article explains that a recent study about working guilt has found that parents feel they need at least 30 minutes to reconnect with their child after a day's work, but in reality they can do that in just 12 minutes. When I first read that, that didn't sound a lot but you can actually have a really fun game in that short time!
The manual contains 30 ideas of simple play to help you reconnect with your child after a day at work and although I missed out on contributing, I got sent a copy on our return from holiday.
It has some simple but effective suggestions in it. Although I don't work outside the home, after a day rushing around doing chores while they are at school & nursery, I often need to re-adjust after picking them up and change my pace to reconnect with them.
I tried out a few of the ideas from the manual, such as drawing hopscotch with chalk - such a simple thing but one both my kids loved!
And although I haven't tried it yet (not feeling brave enough perhaps?!), I am definitely going to let DD lose in my make-up bag and see what she makes me look like! I like the idea of blindfolding each other and tasting three different foods to see who can guess most accurately too.
I was also interested to read about phrasing your questions to get more information from your child. I often get met with a nil response to my query of "what did you do at school today?" so lately I've tried changing tack and am finding that "what was your favourite thing you did today?" and "tell me about a game you played today" has meant I get to learn much more about DS's day.
The manual had a few other ideas that we enjoy regularly, like building a fort with sheets & blankets and having a picnic for dinner (indoors or outside!) Simple ideas are often the best - we can easily get wrapped up in toys and gadgets when we really don't need them.
Plus when you're done with all the play, you can cool down with a tasty glass of Ribena :)