The Importance of Spending Time With Your Children
By Stephanie Martin
How many times a day do you catch yourself saying, “not now” or “I don’t have time”? Now, how many times a day do you catch yourself saying this to your children? Too many times we, as busy moms, get caught up in the daily grind of our family’s lives and trying to get everything done that needs to be done, but we forget the real reasons why we’re trying to bake 4 dozen cookies, schedule a doctor’s appointment, make out a grocery list and go to the store, make sure our child’s soccer jersey is clean and ready to go for the game that is scheduled at 5 p.m., have dinner ready before leaving for said soccer game, and squeeze in homework – all before putting our children to bed. Then, we take the next few hours to get caught up on housework such as dishes, laundry, and general tidying up when one of our children, or even your spouse, comes up and reminds you that you have a family get-together the next day that you are supposed to cook 3 dishes for! So, you stay up half the night preparing for the next day knowing that you are going to be completely exhausted but expected to put on a happy face.
Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But there are a lot of moms out there that have extremely full days trying to juggle different sports, sports teams, music lessons, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, cooking dinner, and housework, and some while still working a full or part-time job. How in the world do they do it and still find time for their husband and children? Well, there are a lot of times that they do not, not really. They think that by getting their kids involved in many different activities they are doing what is best for their children. They may be, especially if their child(ren) are really good at sports or music, etc. But there are a couple of key elements that tend to be forgotten a lot of times. One-on-one time and spending time together as a family.
I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to take time out to just spend time with your child. If you have more than one child, then you need to spend time with each of them individually. Taking the time to get to really know a child not only helps to boost your child’s moral, but it also helps to bring you closer together. This, in turn, builds strong bonds when that child is out on their own. They will see you not only as their parent, but as close friend and confidant. And, as long as you are honest with them, they will be honest back to you. They will know that they can trust you with problems that they are dealing with and know that you will help them get through them. This also teaches them how to be with other people and, one day, with their own children. They will remember how you took the time to spend with them and get to know them, and they will want to do the same for their children as well.
As for family time, it is another great opportunity to show your children what it means to turn off all the televisions, computer, and game systems. When you do not have any other distractions around, pull out a deck of cards or a favorite board game, plan some favorite snacks for finger foods, and just have fun! You will be surprised what you will learn from your children even while playing a board game. This is another great opportunity to get to know your children. You will see how they interact with others, especially during a competition, and you will see how well they win or lose. If you find the your child is a poor loser, you can take the time to show them (in a gentle, loving way), how to congratulate the winner and show how proud you are of the person that won, but you also show praise to your other children that did not win by praising how well they did play the game and how much fun you had spending that time with them.
What about crafts? Do your children like to make crafts? Keep a craft box handy full of finger paints, tempera paints, popsicle sticks, construction paper, glue, etc., so that they can be as creative as they want. If you are really worried about clean-up, keep some of the $1 plastic tablecloths on hand and tape them down to the table. When they are through, gather it all up and toss it away. Just don’t forget to remove your child’s artwork first so that you don’t throw it away! Label with your child’s name, date, and age so that you will always remember when they made this. I can guarantee you that you will always remember the time that you spent with them make it even if they are too young to remember it themselves. But, they will love hearing you talk about when they are older.
Another great way to spend time together as a family is to go to a local park, or even an amusement park or museum. Talk about all the different things that there are to do or see, and then make sure to do/see everyone’s favorites. Make sure and take the camera along so that you can capture some of these memories for your scrapbook/photo album.
One more great way to spend time together would be to prepare a meal together. Let everyone be in charge of a particular item on the menu. Make sure and supervise smaller children and help them when necessary, even little ones can toss a salad or crack an egg with supervision. Let them measure ingredients out. They really love this and will really feel like they are contributing. It’s been proven that children who help prepare foods will often eat them where as they would not eat them if someone else prepared them.
I hope that this article has inspired you to look at your priorities and make the time to spend with your children. They are only little once, and you will never have this opportunity again.
Stephanie Martin is a work-at-home-mom of 2 daughters and 1 son, and the owner and publisher of Busy Moms Online, a site with information for busy moms, and My Country Haven, a blog documenting her family’s life living on a farm and their frugal journey of remaining debt free while becoming more self-sufficient.
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