SELF HELP RESOURCE - Parenting / General

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Many parents feel under pressure to make special time with their children. However, they do not realise that often it is the routine, the day-to-day things that make the most impact. Here are some tips on how to share quality time with your child by making a few adjustments to your schedule each day.

Have Breakfast Together
Get up 10 minutes earlier and have breakfast with your children. Use the opportunity to talk about the day ahead when everybody is rested. Also, they get to learn the discipline of mealtime.

Do Household Jobs Together
Children find some household chores very enjoyable. Washing the car, cooking and watering plants go down particularly well. Children love to mess about and what are 'chores' for you can often be enjoyable activities for your children.

Spend Leisure Time Together
Try to find leisure time activities that all of you will enjoy and ones that you can do together. Why not watch the same T.V. programme, share some treats, do art/crafts or go for a walk/cycle? Children don't always need to be talking to enjoy being with their parents. Outdoor games such as football and cricket can also be great fun for everybody, whether you are up to being part of a team or just keeping score or acting as referee.

Put the Children to Bed
Try to make sure you are around at least twice a week to put the children to bed. If they are young enough, read them a story or just catch up on what happened in their day. It helps them wind down and get ready for sleep.

Plan Family Events and Occasions Together
Involve children in planning birthday parties, social events, weekly schedules and family holidays. Children love exploring brochures and writing lists. Remember, if children feel they are contributing, it makes them feel important.

Play Games
Board games and card games are a great way for the family to interact. Try to get games that everybody enjoys, not ones that are a chore to play. Your children will enjoy seeing you enjoy yourself. Why not create your own game by organising a treasure hunt?

Help with Homework
Try to be available for some homework or try to help with a project. Homework gives an opportunity to learn about school and what's happening in school.

Talk Openly About the Day
Don't always expect your children to talk. They want to hear about your day too. They will love to hear about your work or activities and it is important to set an atmosphere in the house where everybody feels comfortable talking about how they are feeling.

Points to Remember When Planning Quality Time

  • What are seen as "jobs to be done" by you are often seen as fun activities by your children.
  • Best communication occurs when your child and yourself are engaged in comfortable, enjoyable activities together.
  • Children like you to relax and enjoy yourself and want to make you happy.
  • Children learn to express their feelings from their parents. Try to set an atmosphere where feelings are expressed openly.
  • Spending time with your children can be one of the most enjoyable things that you do. Your children want you to enjoy being with them as much as they enjoy being with you.  

Discussion ideas for parents

  • Discuss things that make you happy or sad. This can make for an interesting dinner conversation topic. You just may learn something about your child and vice-versa!
  • Discuss with your child what is happening in the news and how it makes your child feel. Some news makes people feel scared, while other news reassures them.
  • Discuss your family's values in light of the news. Has the news changed your values? For example, this discussion could evolve into a conversation of what you believe about war, dowry or politics, as and when those topics are in the news.
  • When you have some time to fill with your child, e.g. in a car, at the dinner table, take turns asking questions about current events in the news.

 

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