Do your kids really come first? The holidays always remind us of the importance of family. It’s a shame that people don’t always remember this throughout the year, but the fact remains your busy and over-scheduled life can overshadow your priorities.
It’s commonly known that quality family time leads to better child development. However, studies show that almost half of all parents today believe they spend too little time with their kids. This likely reflects the fact that many households today rely on two working parents.
The good news is, there are practical ways to devote time with your kids. Here are four tips you must know:
Create an important family event
Your day planner is likely filled with work-related meetings, appointments and other important responsibilities. Add your kids to the schedule. While you’re planning your week, create a new recurring appointment.
• game night
• story time
• bike rides
• neighborhood walk
Here’s a bonus tip: Holding an “official” family meeting with your older kids is a great way to discuss pressing topics in a not-so-serious way. Create an agenda, have some snacks, and sit at the table – for a little more fun try having one of your kids run the meeting.
Put your kids to work
Kids love to be given responsibilities, so make it a big deal. Assign your kids an “important” task, only make sure you do this: involve yourself in the process of having them complete it.
• Have a pre-task meeting
• Discuss the steps they should take
• Tell them what you expect as an outcome
• Make them report back in with you
This process provides you with several “teachable moments” while giving them a taste of independence. It’s a great moment when you can share the success of the outcome.
Share a special chore
Nothing brings people together better than working side-by-side. Don’t just make it a one-time, special occasion — make it a source of time together every day.
Create daily routines such as:
• preparing meals
• doing dishes
• grocery shopping
• yard work
The best part about these daily chores is the conversations you can have while you’re working together. Most of these activities may become menial routines for you and your children, but the time spent chatting will always be special.
Give the gift of time
This Christmas, put some quality time under the tree. Buy your child a gift that requires your continued involvement.
It could be a gift such as:
• toy model
• baseball glove
• craft project
• musical instrument they can learn to play
The crucial part here is this: don’t just give them a gift, give them your commitment as well.
Make it known that you two will be doing this together. Discuss goals for what you will do with this gift. Include in the gift a printed calendar of when you’ll be working on this project and paste it on the fridge. Don’t just speak your commitment, show it.
One extra obvious tip you already know…
As a final take away, be sure you are making time to eat meals together. The statistics are clear: Kids who dine with their parents are healthier, happier, and better students. Set a consistent time each day when you’ll be having dinner (or breakfast for late shift workers) and stick to it.
The key is, you have time – this is how you make better use of it.
What do you think? Do you have a way of making quality family time? Please share it with us by commenting.
[photo by kevindooley]
|Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected]|