Time equals love to a child. In this busy world, the one thing that seems to consistently fall off family plates is quality time. Years ago, the stores closed at night, banks closed on weekends and even gas stations had specific hours. That created time for families to be together. That was a time when a lot of moms stayed home and dads worked. Someone was home when the kids came home from school.
Today, with both parents working, it seems as though parenting has been outsourced. Many families only have a couple of hours together each day, and that is taken up with homework, baths, brushing teeth, etc. There is little time for just “hanging out.”
Years of a fast pace, full schedule and little time together create disconnection in families. Kids often feel neglected or abandoned on an emotional level. Turning that around falls on the shoulders of parents who are already doing their best to fit everything in. Time is not always available. So how do you find time to show your children you love them?
The answer is in getting back to basics. It’s about quality and consistency, especially when you are not able to provide a lot of quantity. Solid relationships take time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic relationship, business relationship or family relationship. They all take time.
When we are busy with tasks every day, it doesn’t take long for family relationships to break down. If children grow up in that environment consistently, it not only hurts them, but it also hurts their ability to provide something better for their children. The cycle continues and the generations that follow become more disconnected. Not what any of us would choose for our legacy.
Here are some tips for blending quality time with your kids into everyday life:
- Eat at least one meal together every day as a family.
- Ask about your child’s day in general, before you ask about homework. Let him know you care more about him than his grades.
- Carve out specific “date night” time with each child, weekly if possible. Thirty to sixty minutes consistently will go a long way.
- A short walk to the mailbox together every day can be something a child looks forward to. Simple things make them happy.
- If your child is having trouble at school, take the time to understand his struggle. Don’t judge him and don’t minimize his frustration. Simply listen and empathize. Help him find a solution. Don’t leave him to struggle on his own.
- Let your child know when you are proud of his accomplishments, big and small.
- Say “thank you” when your child does something, asked or not. Even if it’s long overdue, everyone wants to be appreciated.
- Play a game in the car on the way to school. Make the time together fun.
- Connect at the end of each day. Ask for high’s and low’s, and share yours too.
- Ask your child, “If you could do anything with me, what would it be?” Then find a way to make that happen.
- Talk to your kids about what you are doing at work, what challenges you face and what makes you feel happy. They need to know who you are too.
Time equals love to a child. They need quality more than quantity. They need consistency. They need connection. They need you. No one will care about, advocate for or love your child as much as you do. Make it a priority not to outsource the most important job you will ever have.
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She provides parenting classes, teen programs and individual coaching. She is known for her practical parenting style and can be reached directly at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alovingway.com