"I’m too busy.”
At one point or another, we can’t help but utter the words above, as the nature of our work and business forces us to succumb to pressure, deadlines, and stress.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
This often leads to a feeling of guilt, as we somehow become absent parents. How many times have we wished that we were with our children, rather than spending time in our office, fulfilling obligations that take precious family time away?
We often debate and struggle about both QUALITY and QUANTITY time with our kids. Regardless of what you think, balance in family life is incredibly hard to achieve. And further away time could lead to disconnection from our children.
Here at Babyology, we often talk about the value of setting aside time for your baby, even just sharing a fun little bath time with them. However, for most parents, that could often not be the case.
With this article, we present to you some advice that could help you reconnect with your children, despite your busy schedule.
1. Don’t force it
One of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to force fun out of any situation.
It’s important to read the room first rather than dictate whatever you wish would happen to happen just because you’re the big person in the house. If your child is not in the mood to do a particular activity, don’t force them to do so – they may grow even more resentful if you do.
Get to know your child’s interests first. See what makes them smile, laugh, cackle in glee, or at least interested. Respect the process and start from there.
2. Be consistent
If possible, set a time of the day as a daily “connect” time with your child. Note that it doesn’t have to be an hour-long, all-out, rollers-skating-and-ice-cream-later neighborhood adventure. It could be something as simple as leaving a note in your child’s bag, fixing their hair, sharing a meal (more on this later), or a five-minute storytelling session before they go to bed.
Consistent activities will help create habits for both you and your child, instantly building a connection and foundation for a strong child-parent relationship.
3. Reinforce positive language and behavior
This is not advice with regards to time management per se, but it’s nevertheless important in promoting healthy relationships.
Words create strong and effective connections, too. When you talk to your children in a positive and reassuring way, especially if they do something good, they remember that. This creates positive reinforcement, which goes a long-long way towards your children looking up to you as a respective role model, making them value your relationship even more.
4. Eat with your kids
The oft-heard quote “a family that eats together, stays together” has never become more relevant than today: the age where we dine with our phones instead of each other. Don't make the same mistake with your child. Connect with them by having small chats, and basically just asking them about their day.
5. Plan a day with them
Set a time to do an activity that your child will choose. Be sure to show up and complete the activity without being distracted by work or other things. It doesn’t have to be extravagant -- you can share the ride home, play video games together, or make bath time a fun experience! Every little bit of time that you can give can add up to valuable, quality time. Be silly and don’t forget to laugh at times!
There are a lot of studies out there that dove deep into the quantity – right down to the minutes – of time a parent should spend with children in order to brand it as “quality” time.
While this may be data-based and scientific, in the real world, it’s probably not that realistic.
Our advice? Don’t stress about the parenting numbers – just focus on the actual parenting instead. Find a balance between your work and family, stick to a consistent habit with your kids, and slowly, but surely build a relationship that would last.
If you need more advice about parenting, feel free to browse through or blog!