All parents want what is best for their children. We want them to have every opportunity, every occasion to experience new things, every chance to be successful. We live in a very busy world and many times the most important thing we can give our children is overlooked, and that is OUR TIME. Time is the new commodity, it is the new currency and we are hearing loudly and clearly, from parents old and young, low income to high income, across all nationalities, I just don’t have enough time!
But TIME is the one thing we need to build those all important family connections. They are the very bedrock of successful child and youth development.
We hope you will check out the many ways to connect each day with your child in the categories below. The time you spend connecting with your child will be the most important part of their day AND your day!
Research tells us that the TIME we spend with our children is crucial to their healthy development. More than the newest toy or the latest gadget, children tell us what they want most is our TIME! So how can we make these vital connections? As parents, we need to be very intentional about connecting with our kids.
If we could only do ONE thing for the healthy development of our child, it would be to eat a family meal at least 5 times a week. Not all families can gather at dinnertime, it could be at breakfast or lunch or during an afternoon snack. The important thing is to make it a "sacred" time every day. The research shows that the benefits happen when a child and at least one parent eat together.
Bedtime is another great time to connect with our children. Develop special family traditions around this nightly event. Some families have a special game or song that signifies it is time to get ready for bed. For children who have a hard time making transitions, setting a timer so they know they have five minutes more to play is helpful. These traditions help put children in the mindset that this is now time to quiet down and connect with their parents.
Playtime is essential for the healthy development of children. It impacts their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
In this era of two-earner or single parent families, with many more opportunities for children, it is more difficult to just “hang out”. Many parents think back fondly on their own childhoods -- full of bike-riding, ball games with the neighborhood kids, carefree summers spent outdoors -- and wish their own children's lives could be so stress free. They can be, if we are intentional about it. We may have to schedule "Playtime" on our calendars and make it a top priority.
Today, the average school-age child spends 53 hours a week with a screen - a television, phone or video game. That is more than the average work week! Many people are afraid that children are not learning how to communicate face to face. They text things that they would never say to someone in person. They are learning an abbreviated form of language and teachers complain that they aren't able to write papers in full sentences.
Time to hang out at home brings opportunities for children to learn leadership skills. Many children today would not know how to organize a pick-up game. They haven't learned about picking teams and officiating a game. They are told where to be, what time to be there and what to wear. Sometimes they need time to sit and daydream or just be bored. It is those unstructured times that foster a child's imagination.