It’s easy to think that video games, new clothes and ice cream cones are the way to a child’s heart. Parents often mistake a child’s longing for toys or begging for snacks as their way of saying what’s important.
Some kids act out, whine or cry, other kids are more subtle, but the desire is the same — to know that they are important, loved, respected and an irreplaceable member of the family.
And one of the best way to get this message across: Spending quality time together.
Barriers to Quality Time
Some of you may doubt that your child wants to spend time with you; your child grunts answers to your questions, ignores your requests or spends more time with their friends than at home. It may seem contradictory, but spending quality time with your child may actually decrease some of these unwanted behaviors!
Many parents are with their kids all day, every day. However, this time often includes running errands, doing chores or watching TV. Plus, kids are sharing time with siblings instead of having full access to their parent’s attention.
Maybe spending time with your child seems like a daunting task. Many parents feel like fools trying to make conversation with their teenager. Other parents have no idea how to play Barbies with their daughter or Matchbox cars with their preschooler.
Your child wants you. They don’t want you to be perfect; they want you to be present. To make an effort. To make eye contact. To ask about their life in a way that shows genuine care and concern. To get on the floor and play. To color. To wrestle, tickle or braid their hair.
It is not easy to carve out time to connect with your kids on a daily basis. It will mean putting some of your own priorities aside temporarily. It might mean actually putting your phone away or closing the laptop.
The benefits far outweigh the sacrifice. Your child will be getting what they’ve always wanted: You.
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