Quality > quantity.
As every working adult knows (and that is all of us, even if we don’t get a paycheck or have kids), we have busy lives. Time is moving faster and faster and we are all bombarded and overwhelmed with too many tasks and not much time for fun.
But, we must make time for the most important work we will ever do and that is to encourage the mind and heart of a child.
Kids Need Adults To Be With Them
Those of you who have read some of my earlier books and articles know how strongly I feel about adult role models for kids. Aunties and uncles, teachers and coaches, youth Leaders and extended families are so important to raising resilient, confident kids into adults.
Parents spend an average of seventeen hours a week in the company of their kids, but less than two hours a week devoted to interacting with them.
Interacting means face-to-face or shoulder-to-shoulder time talking, playing or helping with homework. It does not mean texting or phone calls, which is connecting but not building real relationships.
There are 3 ways busy parents can spend more time with kids and build relationships with them:
1. Include them in your daily routine.
Most of the time, when we are with children, we're doing other things like cooking, cleaning, or repairing things. It makes sense to not "shoo" them away, but include them in the tasks at hand.
Sure, it may take twice as long and not look nearly as good if had done it yourself, but it's time together. You may be surprised at the talents your kids show when they turn off the video game and paint the garage with you.
2. Learn to share feelings without judgment.
As I work with families, I am amazed and saddened at the number of adults who don't know how their emotions affect others. Many adults don't even know what they are feeling.
Allowing your children to have a right to all kinds of emotions — whether it's happy and sad, angry and nice, anxious and confident, afraid and safe — is key to helping them manage their inner selves.
This may especially hard for dads who have been trained to tune out vulnerable feelings. However, it's important to tell your kids (and mean it) that they are safe to share their feelings with you and they will not be punished or disciplined for what they think.
This is such a great way to help correct situations and interpretations they may have been worried about.
3. See the world through their eyes.
By adopting a child’s eye view, we can regain the wonder and enjoyment of just being.
A walk with my grandson Ridge is a study in insects and plant life that I never even knew existed. His eyes spot nature as God must have intended us to see it. Every little leaf and stick is a wonder and a treat to be examined and talked about.
Adults Can (And Must!) Learn From Children
Because the world is moving faster, we feel an obligation to teach the children all the time. In reality, the children being born now are so much more intelligent and all-knowing. They can teach us.
Many of them are called "Indigo Kids" and because they have been exposed to technology in the womb, understand a global world economy. They are ready to accept, adopt and live a more inclusive live that has no room for bigoted hatred or unkindness.
By spending time and effort to get to know and enjoy the children in our circle of influence, we will be rewarded a thousand fold.
The memories and association of time spent together will enhance the lives of kids, adults, and the world. By modeling and sharing your kindness and respect for others, you will learn to really enjoy children and all they have to teach you.
Take this Self Awareness Quiz:
- Do you take time every day to smile and try to make a child feel important and noticed?
- Do you act impatient or bothered a child is trying to talk to you?
- Do you recognize the many messages children are willing and eager to teach adults?
This article was originally published at Ask Auntie Artichoke. Reprinted with permission from the author.