International Children’s Day 2017 marks the 91st global celebration of the rights and well-being of children residing in different parts of the world. The day is observed not only to celebrate, but also appreciate children’s role in shaping the future of different communities across the world.
So on this day that honours our young ones I want to focus on TIME. Time is the most precious gift we can give.
We’re busy. We bustle. We work and have activities and are over scheduled. As I’ve written about recently, our children are reporting that they are more lonely than ever. From this, stems all sorts of issues. Loneliness can lead to mental health concerns, kids getting into trouble, and acting out behaviours for attention. As parents, we need to keep our fingers on the pulse of our children’s thoughts and feelings.
We need to carve out spaces for quality time, NOT spent behind screens. So how do we do that?
One-on-one time: Alone time with your child is best when you are doing something you both enjoy. With one family it may be the time when Dad takes the baby so Mom can spend time with the older child. Going to the local theater to see Cinderella, taking a walk, playing a board game, or just sitting at the park on a bench and talking. It doesn’t have to be fancy it just has to be connected. No distractions. Having a time where you are completely distraction free and that ONE child has your complete and undivided attention is priceless.
Do tasks together: Children love to help, they really do. And they need that sense of accomplishment to grow up healthy and happy. Bonus: they learn how to do things. Have a mailing to do? Let them sort out the stamps. Need to go to the shop? Make grocery shopping “fun time” with you. Making dinner? Get the mini chef hat out and get them cooking!
Yes, it’s messier. Yes, it’s harder because you have to teach them at first, but what great memories they’ll have of that special “before dinner” time.
Ghost Time: Busy until the wee hours? Write notes for their lunch boxes. Record a short video and leave it at the breakfast table (or send to their phone). The idea is to let them know you’re thinking about them throughout the day no matter what else is going on.
Schedule Mommy/Child time: Let your young one (or even teen) physically pencil in time in your calendar (or type in). Be it 15 minutes or a half hour, let them know that they are just as valuable to you as anything else in your life.
Get out the bubbles or the crayons or the crafts or the fancy art kit. Spend TIME. Because that is the most precious gift you can give.