Relax, busy parents. While you are balancing the demands of family life, career, and social commitments, the odds are in your favour when it comes to parenting. More recent studies still affirm the importance of the way you spend time with your children. So it's not really the length of time you log but the value you create while you're with them. Here are some tried-and-tested ways to bond with your kids to help lessen the guilt you might be feeling.
Playing, reading, bathing
Parents can take turns overseeing these activities. Depending on your schedules, you can alternate during weeknights and then pair up during weekends. Though basic, these to-dos are important in establishing an emotional connection with your kids early on. A study on nearly 6,500 11-year-olds in south-west England showed that children whose fathers had positive involvement in their care while they were still babies or toddlers reduced their likelihood of having behavioural problems. On a practical level, enjoying these tiny, isolated moments can help build your confidence in raising the little ones.
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Have you heard about the South Korean celebrity dad who completed the Ironman Triathlon with his triplets? While you aren't expected to accomplish a similar feat, you can still bring the kids once they're old enough to run or cycle with you at the park. Or satisfy your cardio requirements by taking the plunge at the pool with the tykes. You can also start with something as simple as warming up with jumping jacks and body stretches. While you're at it, embed in their young minds the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.
Sending your preteens/teens off to school
As working parents, you can still preserve the earliest part of your day to bond with your preteen or teenager. We're talking about driving your children to or dropping off your children at school occasionally. According to experts, you can use these short time periods to listen and understand the needs of your 11-year-old girl or 12-year-old boy. Less engagement over long time periods is not as effective, they added. Meanwhile, there are no significant risks to leaving your toddlers in the daycare or to the nannies. High-quality outside care even proves to be beneficial to their language and cognitive skill development. So make sure you are most available during the rocky years.
Celebrating Children's Day with a bang
It is all right to buy presents for special occasions. But Children's Day should be treated differently. Why not plan a party or engage in a meaningful activity with the little ones? The key here is flexibility. Meaningful activities range from participating in volunteer work to learning how to bake at home. Varying your pursuits per year also adds to the excitement. You can even be a little selfish here. For instance, you've always wanted to try camping. Take advantage of the summer break. Go ahead and rent an RV, pitch a tent, and grill s'mores with the kids.
Traveling at least once a year
If you have no choice but to spend an aggregate vacation time, pack your bags and take the whole family out to another place. It can be the distance from London to Liverpool or Manchester to Madrid. The point is to travel, experience a change of scenery, explore new things, and build good memories together with your kids and husband/wife. As the kids grow up, they get to look forward to doing something cool or fun with mum and dad each year.
Teaching your children how to handle emotions
Last but not least, rely on the most natural way to show your affection for each kid. Though it may sound common, not all parents in England, especially dads, are physically and emotionally expressive as their counterparts in the United States. But as mentioned earlier and in another study, there is a link between a parent's and a child's emotions. You can use the time your kids are feeling sad or upset to teach them how to handle emotions. Talk with them one-on-one. Let them reflect on a wrongdoing for five minutes. These simple acts will go far in helping your kids gain better self-awareness and self-control as they grow up.