In our quest as parents to raise happy, healthy, and successful kids, we sign them up for all kinds of extracurricular activities, we help them with their challenging homework assignments, and we feed them a healthy diet. While doing these things can help us nurture our children, the most important actions that we can take as parents is to spend time with them. Talking to and interacting with our children can provide them with a strong foundation for growing their self-confidence and resilience. Here, I’ve outlined a few ways to raise confident kids and enhance your family life.
Parents are busy and kids seem busier today than in decades past with all the plans and calendar juggling that goes on in homes around the country. Busy kids, however, can grow up to be anxious kids. Filling in kids’ time with activities can make for a dynamic childhood, but take care to ensure that you are part of their quality time.
Spending time with your kids provides them with emotional benefits that the gymnastics coach or scout leader may not be able to replicate. At home, children can discover acceptance, self-assuredness, and love from the people who know and love them best–their family.
Before you over-schedule your kids in outside activities or decide to bring extra work home to do in your spare time, remember how crucial that quality time with your kids is to their emotional well-being and development.
How to Interact with Your Kids
Certainly, there are all sorts of parenting styles out there. But, to foster resilience, confidence, and acceptance in our children, we should focus on spending time talking to them and listening to them without negative judgement. Instead of judging their opinions, we might discuss them. Instead of discouraging their ideas, we can encourage them to think more, to grow their ideas, and to feel safe expressing them.
Parents should also take a family-first approach to life. Of course, our careers are important; they put food on the table, after all. But we also have to remember that all the work we do is in support of what matters most–the family, our children.
Try to compartmentalize your work and avoid bringing it home with you so that it doesn’t steal time away from your family. Also, spend one-on-one time with your kids as well as with everyone all together. One-on-one time helps kids feel important and loved.
Spending quality time with your children models good parenting for them so that they, too, grow up to be caring adults and caring parents if they choose to have a family of their own.
As we spend time with our kids, we’ll learn about their interests, passions, and opinions at a deeper level. We can identify their strengths and celebrate them. We can also discover their weaknesses and help them to overcome them.
When kids enjoy a sense of belonging and security at home, they are less inclined to seek out other groups that may not be healthy for them. They become emotionally grounded and will be ready to take their place in the world as young adults when the time comes.
Your time with your kids allows you to guide them in all the right directions so that they can build the rewarding lives you crave for them.
Tips for Spending Time with Your Children
Here are just a few ways you can interact with your kids, enjoying quality time together:
• Create family traditions (i.e. movie night, big Sunday breakfasts, board game night)
• Take mini vacations (i.e. weekend camping trips, Saturday fishing or canoeing, apple picking)
• Spend time outdoors (i.e. have backyard bonfires and roast marshmallows, hike at at nearby nature preserves)
• Explore their interests (i.e. listen to your kids playlists, read the same books, discover mutually enjoyable hobbies like crafting, go-karting, or drawing)
Be sure to include your kids in the planning of your quality time. Take turns so that everyone gets the opportunity to see their plan in action. Childhood goes by quickly–too quickly as we know. Set aside as much quality time for your kids as you can. They’ll benefit from the experience immensely–and so will you.