I have been reminded this month of the importance of connecting with your children. Modern living fills our ears and eyes with so much information and uses up our energy getting from one place to another. Children who do not have time to spend with their parents miss out on the wisdom and values that are caught better than taught. Others can take care of our children, but they will imprint them with their own values and behavior. So, the big question is, “How can we connect?”
Consider your work situation
Here are some things to think about.
- How important is it that both parents work outside the home? Could you manage on only one income or is it possible for one parent to work from home? It may mean quite a severe cut of income, but could this be made up in savings from cooking more at home and having the leisure to shop for bargains?
- If both must work outside the home, is it possible for one to work nearby so that they could eat lunch with the child or be able to cut the number of hours that a caregiver must be hired?
- If both must work outside the home, it is vital that the caregiver is well chosen. That person or persons must have similar values and philosophy of parenting as you. They must have the strength and energy to care well for a very mobile youngster. The place where they care for your child must be safe and clean.
Ideas for Connecting
With the care-giving in place, here are some suggestions for ways to connect with your child.
- Spend as much time with your child as possible. This does not mean time with your child AND your hand phone or computer. This means time you are playing with your child, or cuddling, or reading, or listening. (Quality does NOT make up for quantity. Both quantity and quality time are important!)
- Let them share as much of your life as possible. Take them with you when you run errands. Find ways they can play in the same room where you are doing chores. Teach them how to help you with chores so you can work side-by-side as soon as possible. (Begin before the age of 2. This is when they still think it is FUN to help you.)
- Read with your child every day. If you want your child to do well in school, begin with pre-reading skills by reading books together. Have them turn the pages and point to things you mention on the page. Ask them questions about what you read. Make noises and actions to explain anything they don’t understand from the story. Their vocabulary will grow along with their love of reading because this is connected with time and cuddling with you.
- Each parent should take care of the children to allow the other to have some “Me Time.” It doesn’t need to be a long time, but should be often enough and for long enough to do something that is rejuvenating.
- Plan enough time in the morning and again in the evening to make getting dressed fun time with you (both parents if at all possible) and your child. Don’t make it a chore you have to endure and get finished.
- Find time every week what the whole family can do something together that everyone can enjoy. These activities change as baby becomes toddler and then preschooler. Also, the addition of another child changes the mix. But “Family Fun” is important for everyone. Don’t miss it!
There are so many other good ways to connect with your child! Please share your ideas by email Diane. I will compile your ideas and share them in a future post.