In our busy lives today, how much time do we spend with our children? How do we decide what we do with them and what we don’t? How much time is enough?
The first place to start is to get clear on our outcome for our time with them. This gives us a frame of reference to help us decide. Is it the amount of time or what we are doing for them or is it the quality of our connection during that time that is important?
What are our reasons for spending time with our children?
- To really get to know them, what they like, what they don’t like, what is important to them, to get to understand how they think
- For them to get to know us as individuals – how often do we spend time with them and it is all about them? Do we tell them about what we enjoy, what is important to us?
- To have a true connection and open communication with them so that we can influence and facilitate their growth effectively
Aspects we can consider:
Spending quality time with ourselves
The first step to spending quality time with others is to first be aware of how we are feeling. When we take time to care for ourselves and are in a good emotional state, the time spent with our children will be more fun and connected. When last did you take time for yourself? What can you schedule in this week that is just for you?
Work out what is important
How much do you do for your children? Sometimes we can be so busy doing everything for them like getting them to school, making their lunch, fetching and carrying with extra-murals that we forget to connect. We get stuck in the “doing”. Have you ever asked them what is important to them? Do they really enjoy all they are doing? What could you do differently? What could they help with? What could you do together (like making a meal together) that could create connection time? What could you delegate (form a lift club, get help with some of the chores)? The idea is to spend time thinking about which activities give you the best connection and delegate the rest. Ask them to come up with ideas too, ask your friends and colleagues what they do. When we work out what is really important and focus on that, we can free up some time to truly connect with ourselves and them
The power of momentary interactions is huge. There are some days and periods that we are not able to allocate specific quality time with our children, but that does not need to mean that we necessarily lose connection with them. During those times, making intentional moments of connection each day can be very effective and keep our closeness with them
- When you say good morning or hello after school, pause for a moment, look into their eyes and just connect.
- When you give them a hug, pause and hold the hug for a few seconds and feel the love you have for them – notice if they feel it.
- Take 5 minutes every day to have a fully present conversation with them.
When spending time with them, how present are you? Do you have your phone with you? Are you thinking about what you have to do afterwards or what happened earlier? We get a far better connection when we are 100% present in the moment. Being intentional about the time you spend with them for shorter periods are more effective than long times spent with them when we are preoccupied.
Try just listening without expectation or outcome. We don’t always have to have a result or learning. The outcome can be that they just feel heard and understood. I remember with my special needs son, we could have a long conversation and he didn’t really have a point to the discussion or even finish the story. At first, I would get impatient and try and “understand” what he was saying. I have since learnt that creating the space for just the listening was enough. It meant that when there was a time that he needed help with something he felt safe to speak up
Spending time with our children is about true connection, it is not about how we do it or how much time we spend, it is about whether we feel close to them and they feel close to us.
If you would like to learn more about developing good relationships with your children and getting a true connection or to find solutions for your specific challenges book a coaching session with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my Facebook or Instagram pages for more blogs and tips. Join me at one of my workshops!