Being a parent is the best job in the world. But it can feel endless trying to make sure that everything is perfect. But does it need to be?
Why parenting is the best job
Being a parent is the most important job in the world. It's also the most difficult, but as a result the most rewarding.
While it may not be a 9-to-5 job, seeing those happy and smiling faces is the best part. It's amazing to get the chance to watch your children grow, thrive, and flourish.
Why being present is the most important thing
As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to be happy and get everything they can out of life.
But it's not things that make a child's day. It's you. Genuinely spending time with you and connecting. Knowing that you are there for them and providing that security however you can is what will make the biggest difference.
After all, if you think back to a happy childhood memory, you'll notice that it probably wasn't one where you were given stuff. It was more than likely an emotion-filled memory where you really connected with someone. That's what is most important to children.
Why do I feel like I need to give more?
I think that as parents we always want to do more, be more present, and give more time and attention. The fact that you're reading this blog at all means you want the best for your children. So take the time to give yourself a pat on the back.
As parents, all we can do is make the best decisions for our child at that moment in time, with the information we are given. Looking back on something and wishing you'd done it differently is normal. As a parent, reflection is just one part of the process of caring and evaluating.
But with children, all they really want is you. Your smile. Your time. Your love. If you're doing your best to provide that, then you're doing a good job.
Tips to help you get quality time with your child
1. Focus on finding just 10 minutes
I am definitely guilty of trying to find hours and energy in the day that simply don't exist. I worry that the quality time I can offer my children isn’t enough.
Although a study actually found that just 10 minutes of quality time with your child makes a big difference. And when I think of it as just 10 minutes a day, I feel much less overwhelmed.
2. Ask about your child's day
The power here is asking and genuinely listening for an answer. Setting aside that time to listen to what my child has to tell me and asking questions.
My son's eyes light up every time he realises I'm listening fully to his stories. This in turn then encourages him to open up more to me.
3. Be kind to yourself.
I’m definitely guilty of worrying about things that I probably shouldn’t worry about. I want to make things perfect for my children, but the most important thing is that your child is safe and happy.
If that’s the case, then you’re doing pretty well. I try not to get too caught up in worrying about small things which can quickly add up. I definitely don’t always succeed but being kind to yourself is key.
4. Get creative together
Doing creative activities together can help you both express yourselves. It's a great way to bond and having that lovely little output is a great way to remember the fun you had together.
There are so many ways to be creative together. Your child might prefer to be messy and creative, or prefer something a little cleaner. Most of all they'll love the opportunity to spend time with you and have fun together.
5. Sign your child up for an activity
It’s an opportunity for your child to do something fun. Here at tiny toes ballet, our classes give you the time to zone out and spend 1-1 time with your child without interruption.
6. Put your phone away sometimes
Putting your phone away for however long each day can help create opportunities for your children to bond with you.
What you do doesn't really matter. It's more about having that opportunity for quality time.
7. Sit down without any other distractions
Just being present makes a huge difference. Sitting down without distractions like phones, TV, books etc gives your child the opportunity to approach you. They'll come to you. It's more about creating opportunities like this.
8. Ask for help with cooking
Your child will love the opportunity to bond with you while dinner is cooking. They'll love being trusted to stir the sauce or for bigger kids to help carefully chop the food.
You'll probably find that fun and conversation come naturally. But giving your child your time is the most powerful gift you can offer.
9. Read together
Reading books together is a great way to sneak in some bonding time. You can get as silly as you like with it. My son is big on bedtime stories and loves me putting on silly voices.
But letting your child read their books from school to you counts too. The fact that you're present and actively listening is great. Additionally, it can help boost the confident of your children by encouraging them to read out loud.