Hint; Money cannot buy Quality time and it’s NOT Social media!
Having 2 kids, a 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter equals a constant nagging feeling of inadequacy; either with your time with them, or the bonding you create with them, or being strict enough. To make matters worse my daughter sometimes loudly declares I am not listening to her and only paying attention to my phone! Ouch that hurts!
Here is the other reality; Work, chores around and about the home, homework, extra-curricular activities, playdates, exercise, vacations, a husband and oh yes! Did I mention only 24 hours in a day! How on earth can one “make time” for the kids? After all most of these things we are doing are for them only right?
Right! But don’t confuse that with spending quality time.
I know it seems like “quality time” is a word from the “snobbish” dictionary but let me assure you it is Real and it is Totally Doable by all of us.
Here are 5 ways we create “quality time” at our place;
- Being fully mentally and physically present with them;
Doesn’t matter what they are doing, homework, eating a snack or in a swim lesson. They know and you know if you are with them. I am often surprised when I am present with them (although physically tired) they will share their deep down thoughts and inner feelings with me. My almost teenager son takes longer to open up and talk about something and so I patiently give him my full attention.
- Frequent Impromptu talk ;
Involving them in family decisions about purchases, extended family updates, our relevant childhood stories and memories I have about their childhood are some examples. I have realized for myself that I don’t need “stuff” anymore. It is things like quality time that matters much more. And you know something, the same applies to them too! What a win- win. But you do have to be conscious of giving your full attention.
3. Helping others together;
Volunteering, making a difference with no personal gain is a sure recipe for happiness. Doing something like this with kids is 10X that! Volunteering with them at their school fundraiser or at the Union Gospel Mission or spending time with autistic adults when visiting Mumbai creates an amazing bond and those memories of feeling good never fade.
- Involving them by seeking their help around the house;
Even though I get the groan at first, secretly they are happy and it makes them feel like a contributing member of the family. We always ask for their help in budgeting, computer and handyman work and organizing around the house. Acknowledging their help and effort at family time is a perfect way to tighten your bond.
- Getting involved in what they are doing and just being with them;
Oh they love this. I learnt it from my Dad who just sat with Yaani for hours when he was into Minecraft. He understood very little but enjoyed the connection they created which was obvious at other times. Taking interest in his speed-cubing videos or watching the Bermuda triangle mystery with her does way more than increase my general knowledge.
Being mindful and present always always makes me feel like I have spent good quality time with the kids…although it may have been only a few minutes of my actual time.
We don’t want to feel like we missed our children’s childhood, or missed connecting/bonding with our kids. On the contrary we strive to develop a long lasting friendship, open the doors for communication and feel good for ourselves and for them.
And all it takes is not your money, not even much of your time but your being present with them! If it comes naturally great…if not just cultivate it! You will be glad you did!
Tip; the same 5 ways can be applied to your patients, customers or your friends!
What is one thing that works for bonding with your kids? Do share so we can all make our lives more meaningful!
And that’s how we become savvy!