When is time not time?
What kind of time do you spend with your child? Is it a time of connection or is it just being in the same room together with you watching your favorite show and them on their phone? Believe me when I say that after a long day of work the last thing a parent wants to do is to talk or answer questions! For this reason, sometimes it’s easier to get time in other ways. I try to make the most of the time I spend dropping off and picking up Malaya to and from school. I make a conscious effort to talk to her about her day and how she’s feeling. This is not only a great way for us to connect but can be a great time for her to reflect on her day. (It’s amazing how starting with a few questions can really get a conversation going!)
Sometimes when it’s not a talky kind of day I play songs that both she and I know so we can sing along to the music together and other times we just sit quietly making faces in the mirror. When watching movies or our favorite shows we often discuss the plot and characters and we try to guess what we think will happen in the story. Sometimes as parents we get more caught up on the how and or what to do than just doing something. If this is not a normal practice for you it could be hard in the being but with time and consistency, it gets easier.
We have to take moments! So if you see your child playing a game or working on a project join in and or ask for them to teach you the game. When you see them doing a dance (that they think is new) ask them to teach you the steps. When they come to you to talk (no matter how silly the topic or question) try to stop what you are doing so you can look them in the eye and focus on what they are sharing with you. When they come around asking what you are doing, show them and let them help you if possible.
We multitask with so many things but interacting with our children shouldn't be one of them. They deserve our attention and the best of us! The truth is that there is never any time unless you take/make it! We don't have our children as kids for very long. So make those moments count by stopping to connect, it goes a long way. Take the moments when you see them, they are a gift!