Spending time with your children can be tough as a parent – especially as most of us seem to have time demands from other people as well as our children.
Time is very precious commodity that sometimes seems to elude us. Whether it’s our career, a new baby, errands to run, caring for elderly parents and loved ones – we always seem to be wishing we could spend more time with our children.
We need to find a balance – making plans to spend some meaningful time is difficult when the ironing is piling up, or jobs around the house or garden are shrieking for your attention. Maybe you have more than one child who needs your attention, or the dog needs walking or the rabbits need clearing out. Everyone is making a grab for your time!
Children need your attention
It’s easy to get into a vicious circle of each person in a family competing for attention. This can lead to taking out frustrations on one another. It’s not because we don’t care enough it’s just very hard to get off the treadmill of unmet needs and change your focus on being in the ‘now’ – being in the present moment and looking around us to see who needs some love and attention.
Even though time may be short, spending quality time with your children is vital for their happiness and their development. In fact, recent studies have shown that focussing on your children can improve their physical health as well.
A child who feels you’re not giving them the attention they want will let you know in their own way. Some may become withdrawn and sulky. Others may resort back to behaviours that used to get your attention such as anger, temper tantrums, even bed-wetting. All these behaviours will help them to gain your attention, even though it is negative, and they can then take some focussed time with you.
Time spent with children creates stronger bonds
Your child needs to have some meaningful time with you because you will be developing a stronger bond, they will see who you are and how you live your life and this will help them to develop their own way in life. Just having your child help you to prepare a family meal and then eating together as a family will teach them the value of a healthy family life.
There are many different ways you can show your child attention such as showing them affection, taking them to the park, asking for their help to do something, enjoying family meals together, creating regular bedtime routines and generally being attentive to them. All these ideas will help your child to feel valued and loved, and your children will appreciate spending time with you too.
Although you can’t slow time down, and not every day with your children will be perfect, if you can create a ‘fun mentality’ with your child and even let them join you in activities you have to do every day you will have a greater sense of being a successful parent.
Try to make each moment a memorable occasion – time will pass quickly and your child will soon grow into an adolescent and then an adult – spend that meaningful time with your children and you’ll create some great memories!