Spending time with our kids is important. We get that. We all understand that, just like we understand that we need to eat vegetables or turn off the stove before leaving the house. The question is – how? What is “time with my kids” supposed to look like? Here are three things you can try.
1) Meet your kids where they are. As adults, we tend to think about meeting people half way; compromising with both sides being willing to move toward the other. With kids, we need to be all in. Dive right into our kids’ worlds. Learn what they like, try to understand what they like best about those things.
2) Show interest. Does your son like dinosaurs? Great, try to develop an interest in dinosaurs. Does your daughter enjoy mermaids? Fantastic, see if you can find a mermaid story at the library to read with her. When we show our kids that we are interested in their interests, what we’re really demonstrating is that we’re interested in them, and their thoughts. By moving toward our kids, we’re showing them that they’re worth the effort.
3) Make them a priority. Quality time matters for kids, but quantity is important too. As parents, we all have a zillion things we need to do, and that’s not even counting the stuff that we want to do. So where are our priorities? Yes, the dishes need to get cleaned and the lawn needs to be mowed. But can we find 15 minutes to spend with our kids before we start the housework? Otherwise, we run the risk of putting off that connection time while we take care of that one chore, and then just finishing up that other chore, and finally that one last chore while we’re thinking about it and then… You get my point. It’s too easy to put off the important things, because we always think we have the opportunity to come back and do it later. But our kids must take priority because otherwise they start to believe that they’re less important to us than a sink of dirty dishes or a slightly overgrown yard.
I heard someone once say that it isn’t enough to let our kids know that they’re loved. We want our kids to feel treasured. What a great image. We want our kids to know that they are precious in our eyes. This is how they learn that they have dignity and are worthy of being loved by others.
Today try to spend 15 minutes with your kids, engaging in their world, before getting caught up in the day-to-day tasks.