Quality Time with Kids
“There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.”― Dave Willis
I was recently having a conversation with a few of my friends. As always happens, the discussion veered around kids and how they are growing up so fast. It is a common concern among parents that they feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children.
“My son’s nanny probably spends more time with him than me,” rued one of my friends.
“My daughter spends more time with her laptop and tablet than with us,” said another.
Given that there is limited time, we can do a few things to make the best of what we get.
1. Don’t be Pressured to be Super-Mom
The first step is to realize that it is difficult for everyone to spend as much time as they want with their kids, especially in these modern times with distractions both for adults and kids. You are not alone!
This is especially true for mothers, who see so many advertisements and memes where mothers are celebrated for doing multiple things perfectly. As a result, we, normal moms feel that we cannot measure up to that. Well, we don’t need to because NO ONE can measure up to that image. We don’t have eight arms!
“I regret not having had more time with my kids when they were growing up.” ― Tina Turner
Take it easy. Even Tina Turner probably felt like you. What you need to do is make most of the time that you can take out. Prioritize.
If you are always troubled and trying to play catch-up, you will never be able to spend any peaceful moments with your kids. Don’t set the bar too high for yourself. Start by being kind to yourself. Anything and everything will follow that.
2. Carve Out Time
We need to carve out time for our kids, just like we do for the meeting with our boss or the client. This time has to be only for the children, without distractions. If you cannot do it, add it to your calendar or your to-do list. It is a sacrosanct time, without devices. Yes, without devices! After all, it is not going to work if you are still answering those emails while your child is trying to tell you a story. Even if it is for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, be there a hundred percent.
Play a game, tell a story, solve a few questions with them that they are stuck on, try out a new computer program together. Do whatever interests the both of you.
3. Focus on the Now
This is easier said than done and goes for everything you do in the day. When you step inside your home from your office, as you cross the main door, are you still thinking about that task you have to complete or the mistake your team made? Take a few deep breaths and let the other thoughts go. Put a smile on your face and enter your home. Greet your family with your full presence.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ― Dr. Seuss
Let not a valuable moment slip by because you were thinking of something else.
4. Do small activities together
This is one of the most effective ways to spend more time with your kids. Time is a scarce commodity for all of us, including our children, especially as they grow up. Do some activities together. They could even be doing your chores together – loading the dishwasher, cooking, folding clothes, cleaning the room.
My son tells me a lot about his friends and what they are up to, about his teachers, his dreams while he unloads the dishwasher every morning, and I am making tea in the kitchen. It is a wonderful time, one that both of us like and look forward to each day.
“As your kids grow they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel.” ― Kevin Heath
5. Have a Ritual
Have a ritual, which is sacrosanct. It could be a daily ritual or weekly, whatever works for you. It is best if it can be something with the entire family. For example, we all have dinner together as a family every day. We do not keep any meetings or calls during that half an hour. We do not watch TV or look at our phones. That half an hour is family time. We talk about the food, about our day, anything and everything.
I had this ritual in my home when I was a child, and those are some the moments that I hold close to my heart when I think of my childhood.
Another ritual that I have with my son is spending 10-15 minutes with him before going to bed. It started as a storytelling or lullaby singing time when he was very young. Now that he is older, we continue that ritual, though instead of lullaby singing, it is now about talking about anything he wants to discuss or I want to talk about. Till now, there has never been a single where we didn’t have anything to talk about. It is a good source for him to vent out anything that is troubling him or has been troubling him all day. With all such thoughts out if his system, he gets a more peaceful sleep as well.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”― Robert Brault