Friday, October 7, 2016

Nine Hundred and Forty Saturdays

For families with busy schedules including work, school and extra-curricular activities, time together is often hard to come by. Parents finding quality time to spend with their children can be quite a challenge. Although it is difficult to make time to spend with our children, it is critical to do so! Children long to spend meaningful time with their parents. There is a famous quote by Dr. Anthony P. Witham that we all know rings true, “children spell love…T-I-M-E.” Simply put, children equate time spent with them as being loved. I read an article recently which stated there are only 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and his/her departure for college or the work force. While 940 sounds like plenty, the article went on to say that if the child is 5 years old, 260 Saturdays are already gone! Time can slip by quickly and we need to realize it is not unlimited. We need to make the most of what we have. Below are a few things to keep in mind as we do life with our precious children:

Don’t mistake care taking tasks as quality time. Sometimes we can be so busy doing things for our kids cooking, cleaning, laundry-that we stop doing things with our kids. Find one-on-one time with each of your children, even if it is only a few minutes each day. Making that connection is essential and can be an important investment in the relationship. If you find yourself buried in laundry, involve your child in helping you complete the chore as you engage with them about their interests and their day.

Avoid distractions. Spending time together quickly loses its value if the parent is distracted. Avoiding distractions can be difficult with phone calls and texts vying for our attention. Remember, we are teaching our children how to be in a relationship. What message are we sending our children about their value if they are always losing out to a cell phone? Some families have implemented device-free times so that family members can focus on each other without distractions.

Be intentional—teach lessons along the way. Look for little moments throughout the day to teach lessons and instill values in your child. In everyday situations, make sure they understand what really matters to you. It is often in small moments that big lessons can be taught. Who better to teach them than you?

Make it fun—be in the moment. Let’s face it—sometimes as adults, we take things too seriously. It is important that we enjoy the moment and simply be present with our children. Look at the world with childlike wonder. It’s fun to play games, create, and pretend along with our children. A little silliness can go a long way! As the parent, we set the emotional tone in the household. Children most definitely take their cues from us.

As a parent, finding time to spend with your children will be difficult. Yet we are compelled to make it happen when we realize that spending time with our child communicates that we love them and that they matter to us. This is vital to raising happy, healthy children. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

- Robbie Shockey, M.S.
APAC Family Support Worker

If you or someone you know is interested in adoption, contact our APAC Adoption Support Team,
1-866-4-AL-KIDS or visit our website, www.childrensaid.org/apac