Spending Quality Time with Your Children
The quality time parents spend with their children is not just important for your child’s physical and mental development it forms the basis of their continual emotional and personality development later in life.
Raising physical and emotional healthy children is one of the most crucial and rewarding tasks that parents can do. With the proper intention it is also easy to gain rewards for every action from shopping for food or clothes to reading bedtime stories. To do this effectively is crucial to devote time to each child. One of the biggest mistakes parents do is not spending quality time with their children. Particularly working parents feel they never have enough time to spend with their children and often feel guilty. Sometimes they over compensate for this with buying toys and gifts rather than finding small amounts of time.
Experts emphasise that what is important is quality time with children not the length of time. Instead of length, focus on making the time spent with your child memorable and make them feel special and important. This may take a little planning to make sure there is no distraction and parents need to demonstrate that they themselves are excited to be taking part in the activity.
Quality time can be described as an amount of time with a definite beginning and an ending that contributes to physical, behavioural, emotional, social, academic or spiritual development of the child. This time does not always have to involve an activity, it can be done while doing your daily routine such as when you take your child to and from school or eating dinner together. Spending quality time together strengthens family relationships as parents get to understand their children and learn to listen to them effectively. Planning this time is therefore crucial as each child is different with different interests, needs and requirements. The child’s age, developmental stage and interests should be considered when planning quality time.
In order to spend quality time with your child, it is important that you are in a good place yourself, for example you need to be present physically and mentally when spending the time with them. This means putting away anything that will distract you and devote the time to the child. If you are unconsciously looking at the TV or your phone your child will notice.
Tell them how much you love them, hug them and have fun. It is possible to write messages or notes for them, even leave messages on their pillow or if your child is younger draw them a love message. Leave a message on the back of the front door for them to see it on their way out in the morning before school. Doing Duaa out loud for your children also demonstrates that they are in your thoughts and you are asking Allah to guide them on their journey through life.
Family time is also important when it comes to quality time. This can be even as little as 10 to 15 minutes twice a week doing an activity together. Playing football in the garden or board games together. However, if both parents cannot be present at the same time then you should make sure that you spend quality time with the children at different times.
Getting the right time is essential, know when is the best time of the day for you and your child. Some children and adults enjoy evening time, while others prefer morning time. Think about your child and also your routine, what works best to have enjoyed, relaxed and focused time together. What needs to be changed to enable you to have this focused time? Do you need to get up earlier or have the lunch box prepared from the night before. Remember if you fail to plan then you are setting yourself up to fail.
Including the Children
Children enjoy contributing to household activities and feeling included. There are many activities that can be made into fun, such as organising cupboards or toys, making a shopping list, cooking or tidying up. These tasks also enable the child to learn responsibility and can have a positive effect on their self-esteem and confidence. However, it’s essential that you notice the positive things they do and praise them. Try to be aware of your expression and control any negative reactions, if they do make mistakes do not criticise them. Supporting your child to learn about the world and to be able to take responsibility for themselves takes time. One way of doing this is to give them money to pay for small things themselves. This teaches them the importance of taking responsibility or money and its value.
Be in Their World
Develop interesting and creative games together that can be played while dressing, getting ready to go out or on car journeys. Games such as I spy, Pictionary can improve your child’s memory and your child’s development and have fun in the process. Use small snippets of time to teach them new words, concepts and how to be thankful for what they have in life. Playing together is not just fun and entertaining but also educational. You will find that you get to know them better and build quality and lasting relationships. It will also enable them to be happier children and to feel good about themselves. Parents however need to be also more aware of their emotions. A short time spent when you feel good will be more useful than a longer time when you are tense. Try to change something for the better this week that will build your child’s character. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, put your children as a priority. Smile, have fun and be thankful for what you have, rewards come with good intentions. However, when you make small changes. Don’t forget to reward yourself also as you do deserve it!