Let’s imagine 25 years from now your children will be grown up, married and settled in another city or country. Do you imagine they would share everything with you or would call you when they are about to make some important decisions in their life? If your answer is yes, then you are on the right track and keep building your family bond, but if you are unsure or confused then you would not be able to change anything 25 years down the road, “Now” is the time to do something about it.
We all know that as children get older it gets difficult to know what’s happening in their life, especially in current times when they have access to the unknown Internet world and smartphones at their finger tips. The influencing capacity of these tools can swing either for the good or the bad.
Research has shown that lack of quality communication between parents and children in their early childhood can lead to family disconnect and weak emotional bonding. According to dailymail.co.uk, a new survey says that parents and children have less than eight hours “together” in total each week.
Parents are too busy and get tired after long hours at work where as children get exhausted after juggling school, homework and too many after school activities. At the end of the day neither the children nor the parents have energy to engage and spend quality time with each other.
We need to understand that no matter how much money we spend on our kids, the risk of spending less time with them is just too high. As they grow into teenage stage, it demands openness and independence. It is absolutely important that your child has a strong and trusted relationship with you to talk without fear. Your undivided time and love is essential to grow them into happy and responsible adults.
“Quality time” does not mean going out for a family vacation once or twice a year or having dinner out with your eyes glued to the digital screen once in a while. Quality time means religiously spending unstructured creative time together which initiates laughter and open conversations without any distractions. The time spent by you with your children cannot be compensated with anything and it will be the most cherished part of their growing up. It will also help you understand their perspective better which in turn will guide you to make the right decisions for them.
The best way to engage and open your teenager is to find a common interest activity. It is essential to choose an activity which both of you enjoy. You will be mistaken if you select the activity based on your kids’ choice only. Children normally sense when you are being fictitious to be happy and engaged. It is vital to really enjoy and converse while spending time together to understand each other’s likes and dislikes.
Allocate at least 30 minutes to an hour everyday to engage with your children without distractions in a fun conversation.
Following unstructured activities will spout your family into laughter and bond you together for life:
- Have dinner together without the digital screen
- After dinner have a surprise message hunt
- Doodle each other’s faces
- Make something out of waste bottles
- Make a family animation film during holidays
- Mimic each other
- Play Ping-Pong on dining table or without the table
- Play musical games
- Play board games like Business or Bingo
- Click each other’s photos with funny faces based on a theme
- Plan fine dining at home. Create a menu, cook and eat together. Don’t be afraid to involve your younger kids
Once a month plan a creative activity weekend and bring your family together. For example, instead of sending your children for art classes alone how about booking a sculpting session for a family together, over a weekend. This way you will get a chance to explore something totally new and your children will also admire your creation. If your family prefers sports, then book a beach badminton court, a lawn tennis court or any other sport you and your family may enjoy, to play games together.
Once in two months make your children in-charge of planning some fun activity for the family. Give them complete freedom without judging or criticizing to plan and decide the activities. Do tell them your preference if they already don’t know briefly. If they are too young to book or plan then allow them to take help of one of your friends or family members. The family will cherish these memorable moments spent together for life.
Making a family ritual of spending time every day will be a rewarding experience for parents to introduce family values to their children. Also, it will become children’s second habit, which will assist them to build a happy relationship in the future.