I recently had the wonderful opportunity to talk with a few groups of teenage boys about parenting. I asked them what the most important thing they wanted to give to their future children. Throughout all the groups, the highest priority gift was the same. Time. Some of them had missed the opportunity to spend time with their parents, while others had the opportunity and valued it. Research supports their idea that spending time with your children is one of the best things that a parent or caregiver can do to support their child’s development.
So, why is the most important gift for children sometimes the hardest to give? As a full-time mother with a full-time job, I am guilty of missing many opportunities to spend time with my children. Let’s face it, life happens….so does laundry…..dishes…homework…sports activities…and they still need to be fed EVERY DAY!! Sometimes, I get so caught up in the everyday tasks of life that the minutes fly by and I miss out.
The good news is that these same every day tasks present the perfect opportunity for me to squeeze in extra minutes with my children. By including my kids within these routines, I have the opportunity to spend time with them, teach them life skills, or just have some good conversations. Most of the time, the best conversations with my boys happen while they have some other action to do. (My boys are not of the “let’s sit down and talk” variety).
Another suggestion is making quality family time a part of the daily routine. In my house, dinner time is family time. We try to sit down as a family every night. No electronics or toys are allowed at the table and no one is allowed to answer the phone. We each go around and tell our favorite and least favorite part of our day. This can also works well with family breakfasts. Bed time stories are another way to make quality time a regular part of the day.
Time is a valuable resource; once it's gone, you can never get back. So hurry, childhood is a limited time offer!
Remember to consider what works best for you and your child! If your child is having difficulty participating in play activities or you have concerns about his or her development, we can help! Remember, Babies Can’t Wait! Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB: http://www.racsb.state.va.us/