Parents today juggle with many things in our fast paced life. The parenthood journey is no walk in the park.
Most of us strive to balance a million things while also being hands-on and connected with their children. Here are 6 ways you can do to cope and go beyond to establish firm bonds with your children.
1. Strong Family Support
Many parents who seem to manage this intricate balance well attribute it to strong family support. The support from the spouse is a major contribution as parents work in partnership to avoid burn-out. The extended family are also invaluable sources of help especially if a child is sick or a spouse is on business.
Even more so, some relatives or grandparents help out with housework or even day to day care! For some families, the helper or childcare may be a source of support. Get support you can trust.
2. Focus On What Matters For The Family
Don’t sweat the small stuff. After cooking, chauffeuring and supervising children and homework, housework is a distant priority from already fuzzy minds for some. Pam, who works in the chemical sector, shares that it is important to let go on minor things and major on what truly matters. For her, she focuses on diet, development and happiness of her toddler son, Josiah. Other things like housework and keeping up with trends take a back seat.
3. Be Intentional & Plan Ahead
The hard truth is that spending time has to be intentional. If you don’t plan it, the odds are it may be drowned out with the daily noise and what unfortunately remains for the children is leftover time. Scheduling time to get off work so as to have time with your children before they sleep, a date night out, doing an activity with the family are not last minute tasks!
Planning a week ahead may be helpful; this may include a rough guide on groceries to buy for the week, days when extra help is needed, what you plan to do with your children etc with room for flexibility.
4. Uninterrupted Time Daily
It is important to have uninterrupted time daily with each of the children. Maribel Sionisio, a parenting and relationship consultant, emphasizes that this is essential. She tells parents, “If you can’t give 30 minutes a day, then there goes your influence on your child. How will you get to know your child if you don’t spend time with him or her?”
Bonding and inculcation of values is built over time. Investing in our children, building the base of connection for their first 10 years will potentially shape our relationship with them for the rest of their lives. Some parents even schedule in solo dates with their children, especially if they have a few children. This garners that each child has that attention and space with the parent individually from time to time.
Face to face engagement is key. Joanna, a banker, gives her 2 young children a glimpse of what she does in the day. She fills them in on what mummy does at work, how she feels and encourages them to do likewise. She emphasizes that kids can be engaged without the use of gadgets. This way, they learn how to listen and express themselves, observe the surroundings and learn to be in the presence of others without constant activity.
6. Have Fun
What interests each of your children? It can be simple, going somewhere together, or even just enjoying each other’s presence. “I work part-time as an entertainer at home,” Joanna shares. “I snore like a pig, hop like a rabbit, crawl like a worm, roar like a lion, basically anything in exchange for their chuckles.” It is also important for parents to look after their own happiness too.
Sometimes it is all right to take a break, do something that will make us happy, laugh at our mistakes. Pam notes that the happiness of the parents affects the overall mood of the family, so we don’t need to be superheroes, she says.
Building the bond with our children takes time. To inculcate values and shape behaviours take years. We cannot influence our children in crucial times if we don’t walk with them from the start.
While it may be tough juggling parenting amidst running a career and many other things and we won’t seem to “reach there yet”; building bonds with our children is something that we should be “working on”. Our children are worth the labour of love.
By Som Yew Ya