Parents are spending more time with their children than parents of any other generation since the 1960s. According to a recent study, modern parents spend close to an hour more taking care of their kids than parents did in 1965. But is that quantity of time really adding up to more quality time?
Spending time with your little sidekick is how you are going to show that you love them. But sometimes life gets in the way. Schedules become hectic or your work/life balance gets thrown out of whack. Whatever your excuse is, how do you use the quality of time spent with your kid to demonstrate how much they mean to you?
Here are some ways I spend time with my sidekick when life is busy:
Put Down the Phone
Hey IncrediParents – We are the first generation of parents with 24/7 access to phone calls, email, the Internet, and social media, right there in the palm of our hands. Remember what Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I’m just as guilty of checking Instagram when Boy Wonder is begging me to play cars with him. Just remind yourself that the digital universe can wait while we interact with the people right next to us.
IncrediMom and I agree that it’s time to fight evil by stashing our cell phones and focusing more on our sidekick. Will you join us? Let’s show our kids they more important than the latest work email or what’s trending on Twitter. Let’s make sure they know it too.
Bring Them to Work
My day job is unique. While I cannot bring him into the office per se, I am able to bring him on the site during my off hours and show him what I do. I know this is not an option for everyone but if you can, it’s a great way to showcase your work – and work ethic to the next generation. Children learn to solve problems by doing and watching. Through observational learning, your kids will pick up tips for working through differences and conflicts with others.
Our sidekicks don’t always understand why work sometimes takes priority. When they see your office and learn what you do all day, kids begin to have a better sense of why you have to work late some nights. By talking with your kids about the way you try to achieve work/life balance, you can give them a head start on creating best-practices for the day they fly solo as their own superhero.
Ask Them What They Want to Do
When I get home, I don’t tell Boy Wonder what we are going to do (at least not right away). First, I ask him what he’s been up to and what he wants to do. Even if that means watching Cars 3 for the thousandth time, doing it for him makes it something special. Going to Ballet Class is not the first thing I would choose to do on my weekend, but the light in his eyes when I say his teacher or classmates names is enough for me to know that it’s important to him.
We can take a walk to the neighborhood park, play ball, run around, or swing on the swing set. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something big. Remember that superheroes and champions do ordinary everyday things but they just do them better than everyone else. It’s only a matter of listening to your sidekick and letting them lead you toward what is important to them. When you embrace what they show you, you are going connect with your sidekick in a powerful way.