Quality time – a language of love
Quality time is the giving of our undivided attention. When a child feels loved, their emotional bank account is in credit and they are more likely to co-operative with our parental guidance. For example, 15 minutes at bedtime will help them to settle to sleep.
To a child negative attention is better than no attention hence the constant interruptions when we are on the telephone. Quality time says “You are important. I like being with you.” The focus is not the activity or event but the being together part. Finding time to be alone with each child is not easy, yet it is essential. It’s a sad fact that in many homes children would miss the TV more than their parents.
Making the effort is investing in your child’s future. Time together creates an atmosphere in which you can get to know each other more deeply and become closer. Learning how to communicate on this level will serve them well in their future relationships.
Make a ritual of bedtime stories and family mealtimes with conversation. Resist the pressure of the “shoulds”. Much of what seems so urgent won’t matter in years to come. What you do now with your children will matter forever. You are creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Start small: including your child in daily activities like folding laundry, washing and drying dishes or grocery shopping. It may take longer but it’s more fun with two.
Join in with them watching their favourite TV show, ask them what they like about it. Paint, draw or colour a picture together, then put yours on the wall next to theirs.
Plan a surprise trip; camping, a sports game or shopping. You could visit a toy store to play with cool toys without buying anything. Create family traditions of outings to the park, picnics – outdoors in summer, a rug in the living room in winter, bike rides, eating desserts in restaurants. Take pictures to remember it. Make photo albums in a scrapbook; get them out on a rainy day and share the memories together.
Try making homemade cards for birthdays, Mothers/Fathers Day, Easter etc. Potato printing wrapping paper, making your own decorations or simply colouring a picture to send to an absent friend or relative.
It takes time to develop a new habit so start now.
Adapted from the book “The five love languages of children” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.