TODAY we conclude our three-part series on the subject of giving time to our children by looking at how we can make it a reality.
It is an undeniable fact that most parents nowadays have very tight schedules. This is largely in their quest to provide for their families, and they seem not to find time out of the rigid walls of their routine programmes.
The unfortunate bit is that time is a constant, that is, it will not wait on anybody, not even dads and moms to finish with one aspect of things before they get on with another.
The clock will be ticking, regardless, and the other bit is that time is limited for all (parents included), we all have 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week and 12 months in a year.
Yet again on the brighter side those that have succeeded in their pursuit to give time to their children have done so under the same universal attributes of time (i.e. time is constant, time is limited).
This should then inform us that if others have made it, we too can. When we talk about spending time with our little ones we are not merely talking about a passive approach, it is also not so much in the lengthiness of time as it is in the quality of time spent.
A scenario where dad is, say, reading a newspaper on the couch and his four-year-old son is playing with his toys on the carpet in the same living-room, each minding their own business, does not amount to spending time as per our subject.
When we talk about parents spending time with their children, we are in fact talking about an active participation in the development of our children, sharing moments with them (children) that are enriched with resource and ammunition to face life and somehow be able to replicate this to our grand-children.
The question still remains: What needs to be done or how do we actually make this a reality – being fully aware of the scarcity of time on the part of the parent?
Firstly, it is important to understand and appreciate the importance of giving our children time (we dealt with this in last week`s article), quality time.
Until this is done parents are unlikely to allocate any time out of the rigid schedules, they could leave it to chance -we normally apportion time to what we consider weighty.
Parents might have to take a deliberate approach – like insisting that they always dine with their children, telling bed-time stories and praying with them before sleep, doing the home work assignments with them (not delegating it), picking on a specific evening in say a month as family time…and doing many other things that are intentional and planned-for.
Secondly, it is crucial that parents identify things that their child or children like, get into their (children’s) world and do those things with them.
It might be dad playing video or ball game with his boys or even watching a movie together.
For parents this might not mean that much but for a child this means a lot, these are the memories they will live to cherish.
Thirdly, parents might want to consider inviting their sons and daughters into their (parent`s) world to come along, watch and participate in what daddy or mommy is doing.
Let’s say there is bereavement in your circles, take your teenaged child along, or you are writer, give them your script and ask for their opinion. Even when doing simple-little things like changing a bulb, ask them to hold one as you are removing or fitting the other.
It is in the mundane every day aspect of our living that we get to spend life-spend time and have an opportunity to impact the generation that follows.
Owing to time pressures most parents experience, a wiser, more intelligent and practical approach is to actually maximise on the small portions of time breaks that we get on a daily basis, just ensuring that these are loaded with quality rather than wait for the one big break – that might come too late.
God forbid, that our big-break should be when we have retired and our children have left home.
[The Writer is a parent, Sunday School Teacher and passionate about child physiology and development]
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