Finding Time for Your Kids: Daily Rituals That Really Matter
Most parents are searching for ways to spend more time with their children. The secret isn’t always finding more time but making the time parents and children already have together really count. Here are several daily rituals parents might consider adding to their normal routine.
* Create Memorable Mealtimes
Families who commit to eating at least one meal together soon discover the benefits that come from creating a golden family hour each day. This hour is time set aside exclusively for the family. It helps to set aside a specific time every day and eliminate as many distractions as possible by turning off the television, computer and telephones. Community, school, career and church activities are numerous and will encroach on family time if not carefully selected.
A golden hour might include:
Preparing a meal together
Saying a prayer
Reading a chapter from a good book/talking about the day’s activities/singing a song
Doing the dishes together
Helping with homework/going for a walk/throwing a baseball/playing a board game.
* Make Homecomings and Departures a “Touching” Event
Everyone likes to be noticed, appreciated and loved. It only takes a few seconds for parents to make every homecoming and departure a little more warm and fuzzy for their children. Don’t hold back. Be warm and affectionate when your child leaves or come back home.
Make a positive comment – “I believe in you!” “Make it a good day.” “I’m so glad you’re home!” “I missed you today.”
Wave from the window
Say “I love you.”
* Utilize Transport Time
Most parents and children spend part of their day in their car going and coming from a multitude of activities like school, lessons and activities. Parents can put this time to better use by recognizing car time as a great time for positive personal parent/child interaction.
Turn off cell phones/radio/stereo
Be truly present
Listen - Sometimes children open up best when they aren’t looking straight at you
Create fun car games and a family goodbye honk
Invite one child at a time to accompany you on routine errands
* Establish Pleasurable Bed Time Routines
Bedtime routines can be painful and stressful if rushed or forced. It only takes a few extra minutes to have positive personal time with each child each night.
Stager bedtimes for each child so they have individual time and avoid interruptions
Tell original adventure tales starring the child
Take a few minutes to carefully tuck the child in bed
Ask: “What was one good thing that happened today?”
“What was one thing that was not so good?”
Sing a lullaby
Stroke the child’s forehead
Say I love you
Children who have been loved know how to love. Daily loving rituals don’t take more time or money; they only require that parents re-order their lives so that they have unhurried time for the people who matter most.