One of the most important things we can spend on children is time. It seems we parents often need to be reminded of that important principle. When our days are busy and our children are in school throughout the day, the short amount of time families have together in the evening and on holidays and weekends should be cherished and guarded as special "family time." That's our chance to show our children just how important and special they are to us.
How we spend our time together and how much time we spend together should be important to parents and children alike. However, it's really up to us parents to make this time both fun and worthwhile for the kids. One thing that shows kids that they're special to their parents is when the parents make sure those times together are not interrupted.
In many homes, the first time of the day the whole family gets together is at dinnertime. Dinner conversation is good, but it's not enough. Some parents with strong bonds with their children have found that the best way to ensure they stay close is by setting aside one hour after dinner as official family time and making sure it's quality time. During this hour, the parents agree to not disturb one another with any other business. That way, the children know they can count on having their parents' full attention.
Whether it's an hour or more, it's up to each of us parents to make a conscious effort to put aside our work and other concerns and give our children our 100 percent. It may be inconvenient or seem a sacrifice, but if we will be consistent and put the necessary effort into it, it will make a noticeable, positive difference in their lives and our kids will love us for it!
To make family time all it can be, get involved with your children. Don't just do the same thing separately in the same room--like watching TV--but get on their level and talk with them, make conversation, find out what they're thinking. Step out of your adult world into their world. Have fun. Relax. Learn to really enjoy your children.
If you have both younger and older children, you will probably want to do different activities with each age group. Perhaps one evening Mom can play with or read to the younger children, while Dad does a special art or carpentry project with the older ones, or helps them with their homework. Then the next night the parents can switch roles. Or if you're a single parent, you may need to spend time with the younger ones first and the older ones after the younger ones are in bed. The point is to spend some quality time with each one.
The main key to success is to have ideas planned out and organized in advance. You don't need lots of special skills or fancy equipment to keep your kids happy and challenged at family time. Just as your children are very special to you, you are very special to them. Spending time with you is what will mean the most and have the greatest lasting effect. Give it your best shot, and you and your children can all look forward to family time as a chance to do your favorite things with your favorite people!
Taken from Activated Magazine. Used with permission.