Children are a special gift. When you decided to have a child, you automatically made that commitment as a parent to love and nurture your child. Part of this love and nurturing is spending time with your child. There is no greater connection that a child feels than one with a parent.
Yes, the world is a busy place. You may spend the week rushing to work or working on projects for non-profit organizations – whatever it is, you are busy. But to what extent do you allow this “busy-ness” to interfere with the years with your child that you will not be able to duplicate?
Keep Work at Work
If you work outside the home or from home, there are set hours for work. Keep it that way. Remember, there is always tomorrow for work, but there is not a tomorrow for the time spent with your child. Once it is missed, it is gone.
Under no circumstance should you bring work home. If you must, ensure that it is only on rare occasions of necessity and not a common habit. You know when it has become a habit when you child is begging for your attention, and you say “wait, I’m working” or “go play with your toys”. You may even play a movie for your child. That is not quality time.
Schedule Play Time During the Week
Who says that play cannot occur during the Monday through Friday normal work and school week? Take time after work or when your child comes home to, yes, first do homework if your child is of school age, but then have that play time before dinner.
Whether it’s a child card game or making a puzzle together, take that one hour or so before to make that loving connection to your child. This lets your child know that you have unconditional love for him or her, and you will be creating memories that can’t be replaced.
Also schedule time after dinner and bath time to play with your child. The dishes can wait. Use this time to play games or even do some quiet reading as you end the day peacefully before putting your child to sleep. As parents, most of us have learned that children’s needs come before our own, and sometimes that means less sleep than we’d like, but it’s okay. The dishes and the dust will always be there.
Plan Special Weekend Family Time
Don’t always feel that playtime needs to be indoors. Plan special weekend trips to the zoo where they are likely to have activities for children, which you can participate in with your child. You can also go to the beach where you can swim together and play with water toys soaking in some sun and quality time simultaneously.
You can even plan a picnic at the park. You can play ball or Frisbee, or many parks have safe play areas set up for children. Get out there and jump on the swing next to your child. These times are what they will remember – now isn’t that important?