Till 6 months ago, I was a working mom of two children. Needless to say, I had very little time with my kids and constantly felt guilty. At the end of a hectic day trying to keep up with work and the kids, even reading an article about parenting or spending time with kids would send me reeling.
I would see my friend driving her kids from one class to another, available for all meet ups and organizing playdates for them. I wished to be a stay at home mom and spend the entire day with my kids too. So, that’s what I did…and now I see the flip side!
As a stay at home mum, I’m so busy trying to be perfect and doing everything possible for my kids. Sometimes, I have missed that great goal he scored despite being on the field as I was busy managing his next playdate. I’m so busy running errands that the only time I get to chat with a friend is late at night. I’m ensuring my kids get fresh, home cooked meals all the time but sometimes I’m still unable to ensure smiles and laughter over the meal!
My experience as a working and stay-home mom has made me realised it’s not the endless hours spend with my kids, but what I choose to do during available time that matters. How I communicate with them, how I engage and involve them even if it is only for a short while.
Let’s face it, life has become far more demanding and super-busy. In a nuclear family setup, there is no sharing of responsibilities so each of us have go the extra mile. Increasing competition, ever increasing demands from kids and school, we are in a race to do the best for our kids while keeping up with social pressures! Prioritizing and making the most of our resources has become imperative.
So now, I work on maximising the limited time I have with my kids. Here are a few things I do which I believe really wok for our little family.
- Talk and Talk and Talk
I try to talk with them and not just talk to them. Every day, I consciously look out for smallest opportunities to talk and connect with them. From shower singing to breakfast table discussion, talking while driving to or from school, dinner table chatting to bedtime story. I believe, we need to know what is going on in their lives, what things in the day made them happy or sad. Even if you cannot have face to face time, ensure communication in written form, leaving posts/notes in lunchbox or on mirror wall. The idea is no what the time constraints, conversation channels must be kept open.
- Listen and Listen and Listen
When the child is talking to you, do you pay full attention? When I am together with my child, I try to turn off technology or other distractions. It’s important to listen to them when they are saying something. Its another way of connecting with little brains. I realised it’s not just my presence that matters but my children seek my attention. So, try not to text, answer calls, scroll through social media, or watch television, this will make it easier for them to talk to you.
- Together, we make and follow rituals
Daily bedtime reading, Friday movie nights, once a month baking session, summer holidays family trip… the list is endless. Making such daily, weekly, monthly routines is a great way to involve the whole family. Kids love these rituals and look forward to these family times. Beware, once routines are set, be sure to follow through and complete the activity without any distractions or all hell will break loose!
- Word of appreciation
In our busy lives, we easily forget to tell our children how much we love them and how important they are in our lives. Try constantly to appreciate and reinforce positive behaviour. We can never spoil our kids with hugs and kisses so give as much as you can!
- Laugh and be Silly
As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. So, with a child, be childish. It is liberating and loads of fun to let the kid inside you come alive to play with your child. Laughing with them, splashing water in the bath, pillow fights at bedtime, boardgames, playing handball around the house or even playing Nintendo, Xbox or PS4 games together all gets counted as the best part of parenting! Go get drenched on a rainy day, jump on a trampoline with your kids, do some fun jamming together and pull out some paint and have a messy day.
I have recently started working with Bookyboo. Over the last few years, I have gifted their books to my kids and their friends too! Their books are designed for a fun shared experience with your child. Every book is action packed to engage the child, encourages curiosity, conversation and help with character building. Reading is a great way to spend quality time with your kids and Bookyboo’s personalised books are a great start and make a wonderful gift.
So, even if you have just a little time with your kids, be involved, engage them and enjoy it together! Every little bit you do counts and leaves a lasting impact. They will anyway grow up quickly and need you less and less, so make the most of the time you have with hem. Every moment shared together counts and has a lasting impact!