Let’s be honest – in today’s times the pace of life is fast and furious. Too often we don’t know whether we are coming or going? The work / home balance can be a real tight-rope walk for many of us… So how does one ensure that one stays connected to the ones we love, especially our children, when they especially need this connection so desperately?
It comes down to that “unspeakable word” – TIME. We sometimes get so caught up in our guilt as working parents that we think buying things for them will show them we care and keep us connected. In actual fact, it does the opposite. If you were to sit and really calculate how much time you allocated to certain activities in your day e.g. work, meetings, driving, gym etc, how much would there be under “Children”?
We think our children need a lot of our time, when really, they just need uninterrupted time. So how then does one give them that time; how do we “fit it” into our schedules? We don’t have to change our whole day to fit this time in, but if we really want something we find a way, don’t we?
Let’s start with 5 easy ways to do this:
1. Hug and kiss your child often.
2. Driving in the car: This is a wonderful space and time to connect with your kids. However, the only real way to get the best out of this is to TURN THE RADIO OFF. Then just simply talk to each other. By having no other “noise” on, they feel that they have your undivided attention and even though you perhaps can’t always see them at the back of the car, you are listening.
3. Bedtime: Make a commitment to read to your child in bed at least twice a week, either in the morning or night, again by being in that small space they feel they have your attention. Read the story and then give them 5min where you just lie next to them and talk, about anything they would like to talk about…
4. Get them to teach you to play a game on their iPad or a game they know.
5. Get physically active with them.
The biggest thing though is putting away your phone and not looking at it at all when you are engaging with your child. That way they feel connected not disconnected.
I really believe these 5 simple tips will go a long way to keep you connected with your most precious possessions – your children.
Written By: Susan Gregor- Harlen (Grade R teacher and parental coach at Trinityhouse Pre-Primary Randpark Ridge)