How to spend more quality time with your child
Although the days with little kids often seem long, the years fly by. Use this practical and purposeful blueprint to savor the moments you have together.
The ten o’clock news hasn’t even started, but you’re too exhausted to watch — who can stay awake that late? Car pools, lunch bags, after-school activities, dinner, homework, bathtime, bedtime. All on top of your own job (or jobs) and the other realities of adulthood. You have just enough energy left to drag yourself to bed so you can wake early and start the routine all over again. Each day with young kids feels like a week, each week like a month.
Yet as every birthday passes, the years seem to be streaking by at warp speed. Five-month-olds become 5-year-olds in the blink of an eye, and then 15-year-olds. This inexorable march of time that turns babies into big kids is the “other” biological clock facing young couples. Every day brings new growth, new milestones, and new wonderment, but the challenges of juggling our adult lives often prevent us from fully appreciating the delicate nuances of childhood.
We’ve heard about slow parenting, attachment parenting, and tiger moms. However, over my past 30 years as a pediatrician, I have learned that there is a single truth that applies to any parenting philosophy: Your children need to spend meaningful time with you. They need to see who you are and how you live your life. And in return, they will help you to better see who you are.
When you add up all the time your kids spend at day care, in school, asleep, at friends’ homes, with babysitters, at camp, and otherwise occupied with activities that don’t include you, the remaining moments become especially precious. There are only 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and her leaving for college. That may sound like a lot, but how many have you already used up?
If your child is 5 years old, 260 Saturdays are gone. Poof! And the older your kids get, the busier their Saturdays are with friends and activities. Ditto Sundays. And what about weekdays? Depending on your children’s ages and whether you work outside the home, there may be as few as one or two hours a day during the week for you to spend with them. READ MORE…