Take small chunks of time...add your undivided attention...and mix with pleasurable events.
These days, when parents work, and leading busy, distracted lives, parents and children do not have those quiet in-between times when closeness and communication can develop.
Parenting is a demanding job. At times, it seems that children will never grow up; we will spend the rest of our lives taking care of them. Let me assure you that is not the case. These years of intensive care will pass quickly. Before you realize it, you will look back and ask: "Where did the years go?" The effort we put into parenting now is going to make a difference. Show your children you are there to protect them, to take care of their physical and psychological needs, and to provide for them. When you do these things, you will know what it really means to care for your children.
Everyone Is So Busy. Many of us are overprogramming ourselves, so it should come as no surprise that we're doing the same to our`children. Considering the scope of the pressures most of us are facing to get through the day, making sure everything that has to get done does get done, it will take real will power to review our patterns and values. There's a great deal at stake. As parents, it's our responsibility to reconsider our roles. And maybe in learning to be easier on our children, we may learn to be easier on ourselves.
WHAT IS SPECIAL? Think back to your own childhood. What memories do you have of meaningful moments with your parents? Was it the afternoon your father helped you learn to ride a bike? Or the weekly ritual of breakfast at the local diner with mom? Children treasure the experience of having parents focus exclusively on them. Being at the center of a loving parent's spotlight makes a child feel valued, important and truly connected. Special times also involve sharing a pleasurable activity. Both parents and children need to enjoy these occasions. Your outings together shouldn't only be educational excursions;which parents hope will broaden the child's exposure to art or history, but that the child finds boring.
MAKING SPECIAL HAPPEN
Stay focused on your child. During special time, don't be drawn away by interruptions. Turn off the phone, or let the answering machine take messages. Most definitely, turn off the television.
Stay in the moment. If you are tense or distracted, your child will notice. Don't watch the clock. Forget about all
the things you must do before bedtime. Instead, try to remain fully in the present. Your child won't feel you're really involved with her (or him) if you're making lists or checking your e-mail while playing a game.
Follow your child's lead. Do something he or she likes...even if it's not your favorite thing to do. Look for common interests. For example: If you both enjoy food, try neighborhood restaurants or prepare an usual recipe together at home.Be more concerned about the process than the outcome. If it is a building project, completing it perfectly is less important than sharing, learning and laughing along the way.
Plan ahead when your time is limited. If you have only one hour during the week to spend with your children,let them know in advance. I can come home early on Thursday. "What would you like to do between 5p.m. and 6 p.m.?
De-emphasize "quality" time. When parents attempt to turn each moment into a perfect occasion to teach or "improve" a child, they usually fail. And the child doesn't enjoy it. Special times don't have to be momentous. The best times can be simple and fun,maybe as simple as a walk in the woods, or they may end on a silly note, like jumping in a pile of leaves after raking the lawn.
Forget the "shoulds". Special times aren't for routine chores or tasks, such as putting toys away with young kids or cleaning up the basement with older ones. But sometimes such chores turn into spontaneous fun, like singing favorite songs together as you clean up after dinner.
Give each child exclusive time. Alternating evenings, allows each child to look forward to spending special time with you, without vying with a sibling for your attention. Getting dibs on Mom or Dad can be just about as gratifying as, scoring a ride on a fire engine.There should be no interruptions, except for emergencies.
Make special time a lifelong habit. It's best to begin this custom when children are very young ... but it is also possible and important when children are older.
Many parents mistakenly think that a special "getaway" with their children involves a major investment of time and money. Not anymore! Remember sleep-away camp? Or if you were not lucky enough to have had the experience, did you always want to go to sleep-away camp? Well, now you can ...with your child(ren) at a very special price. I recently had the pleasure and privilege of meeting a wonderful man by the name of Victor Fink, the owner of Club Getaway, a weekend resort in Kent, Connecticut. Club Getaway, is the site of "mini" sleepover programs for many of Long Island's premiere day camps. Victor, believes as I do, that it is imperative for parents to getaway with their children. He has created special all inclusive "family vacations"; one weekend program scheduled for Friday August 25th through Sunday August 27th), and a mid-week program scheduled for Monday August 21st through Thursday , August 24t.
SPECIAL OFFER: Not only is Victor a wonderful man, he is also a very generous man. He has offered, to the readers of my column, a very special offer: Parents may receive complete information on this wonderful program, as well as a $50 discount off of the price of a family vacation, courtesy of Club Getaway. To receive your special discount e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to ASAP Promotion, P.O. Box 4312, Great Neck, N.Y. 11023.(Please send a SASE). HURRY! This special opportunity is right around the corner and availability is limited.