BEING A BUSY & BETTER PARENT TOGETHER : Can it actually happen for most of us?
Life is too busy these days, for everyone! Early morning to late night parades! Working weekends! Conference calls in cars! Replying emails over the dining table! And what not!
Applauds to the ever increasing traffic, hectic office schedules, demanding business needs, and hunger for success and money. We all have limited time – 24 hours a day, but everything and everyone needs more and more time out of you. We all know importance of time management, understand the repercussions of its mismanagement, know that its which once lost is lost forever, still cannot help it out. Result, you are screwing up your personal time, and screwing up your happiness which otherwise could have been enjoyed…rather saved!
The worst hit of this “Busy-ness” are the parents with small children, who want to spend time with their family, but seldom happens too. It has been observed that due to demanding pressures at work, parents are troubled and even when they can devote time, the are unable to extract desired quality out of it. I am sure that many of you often face situations when your kids are on top of your back, waiting for you to play with them, and you are busy finishing that so called ‘urgent’ presentation, which only finishes once your kids are slept. You realize later, when you are at bed, after the kids have slept. The story doesn’t stops here…you watch out the innocent faces of your kids, gather determination, vow within for not having your work impact your personal time with the kids, and sleep. But next day or the next, the same story continues, and your kids sleep with their closed eyes, yet hungry for a few of your minutes. Isn’t it devastating?
So what is that missing thing which does not let this happen? The answer is – You yourselves.
Having met a lot of parents of all ages, and with an informal discussion over the same with them at times, I realized that most of them had this issue at some point in time in their lives. But I was also successful in getting a few great insights which helped them a lot in managing such situations, and these were nothing special, but just slight behavioral variations in our daily lives. I am going to explain six of the most talked and experienced changes which helped parents in coming out of this situation.
- REGULATE YOUR EMOTIONS : Kids minds are really like a crisp sheet of paper, even if slightly mishandled, can leave irreversible marks. The same need to be kept in mind while you are back home from your work. How many times it happened when you had a bad day, and said no to play or have a walk with your kids by saying, “not today” with a bizarre face?
Let your work-related problems not be evident in your emotions. Why is that if your kid is not well, you are ready to do away with any of the commitments at work or either, but not when all is okay at home? Just like your kids need you when they are not well, they do need you to be well, for their wellbeing.
Thus, as a first step, STOP the habit of yelling and shouting starting today, and not over the kids only, just stop it. It will relax you. If you really had a bad day and cannot do what your kids want, do not yell. A good way to come out of this situation is to keep interesting story picture books which your kids like. Instead of shouting, just lift your kids and hand over a good book to him, and tell him about the story, so that it excites them and they involve themselves in the same.
- LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND: Many a times, when you are back home, kids surround you and start telling you stories for the day. Kids being kids, you never know what they start talking about…may be what they ate, how they colored that circle shapes, or about the park puppy they saw today, and their stories can be long! It may not interest you, but remember…listen to your kid. Strictly avoid distractions. It definitely makes the child feel less important (and they are not expressive of it) when they are talking to you and you are busy exploring those social media feeds on your mobile. Avoiding distractions makes you listen to your kids and understand them, turning up even a small time in a quality time, and the child feels important.
- STAY CONNECTED IN LITTLE THINGS: How many of us know what our kids have been doing all over the day, in their schools, play homes, crèche, and how are we helping them in their daily lives?
A great mantra to be a parent whom kids listen, is to be connected in their lives, little-little things which they do and enjoy. For example, if kids are working on a new craft in their school, ask them what they are doing, praise their colors, efforts, and advise them how they can make it more beautiful. Start connecting and enjoying in different things they do, talk or want you to engage. Once you do this, kids start engaging with you, and they are naturally seasoned to come to you for any advice or help as they are growing up.
- DINE TOGETHER (mean, ONLY DINE): Dining together sprays joy in your time, and can work wonders for you to have a quality time with your family, but I have seen most of the households where there are again distractions while they dine, and the most observed is TV. Dining while watching television is harmful from many perspectives, be it health issues caused due to overeating, or losing precious time to mingle when everyone in the family is sitting across one another.
Do switch off that television or music player while you start dining, and you will find you can actually start getting insights on how your kids are eating; whether they are eating right or not. Most importantly, while you are super busy, you can actually at least dine together, and make that dining session a great fun for the entire family, and the kids actually excited to dine together.
- PLAY THAT GAME: How many of you have played that Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Carrom or Monopoly game? Mostly all of us. And how many of us play these now with our kids?
I can’t say about everyone. But, though I have seen families going out on tracking, jogging or an outdoor activity over weekends and holidays, I haven’t mostly seen people not playing any kind of indoor games with their kids. You may be short of time at home, but you can actually play a few rounds of that 10 minute Snakes and ladders and see happiness around. Children love to play, and if you start joining them, they are actually overwhelmed. Spread your time across multiple short games and activities during the week. Make them win, and make them lose often! Make them realize that winning and losing is a part of life, and teach them to accept their defeats with a determination to win next time. You will surely realize the importance when they will grow up and you will see them more and more determined to accept challenges.
- SET LITTLE EXAMPLES: Teaching kids may be difficult, but taking care of a few things makes it super simple. For example, if you want your kid to say sorry and thank you wherever required, you need not to teach them, but need to set examples by yourself. Children tend to learn from their parent’s habits. Try to set examples which your children notice. For example, When you always keep your office bag at its place, they are more likely to keep their school bags at its place. If you keep brushing your teeth daily twice, they will understand it is important, and will follow the habit. Most important of the examples, do not shout at anyone in front of your kids, and respect everyone around you, small or elder, rich or poor. This makes them develop this discipline intrinsically, and you will find them mellowed and respecting people. Now, in terms of time, this specific skill comes a long way. When the children start following you, and they repeat your good examples even when you are not there, there feel your company; they feel as if you are with them. This may sound weird to many, but just try to remember something which your father or mother did, and you enjoyed doing it, and still do. Did you remember it with a smile on your face?
Life is not easy, and managing your kids in these digitally overstated times definitely add roadblocks. Keeping in mind these super simple formulas may not solve all your problems, but definitely help your kids to enjoy a quality time, groom themselves with right habits, make them open up with you and feel engaged in your life; and for you, it means you do not crib for not having an exclusive timeout!
I believe these formulas will work for most of us. I would be happy to know in comments more ideas from you parents, as well as how you manage to get a hit and fit time with your kids and family out of your busy schedules.