In the digital age, the era of endless activities for even the youngest children that didn’t exist in easier times, given about half of all marriages end in divorce, even parents who remain together have time carving out true quality (interactive) time with their children. This blog goes back to basics to provide three simple tips that almost seem forgotten for parents to have quality time with their children.
Maybe all parents have always been busy and have struggled to find a life balance where both parents worked. However, today adults and children alike are “tied” (in some cases literally addicted) to electronic devices. For many adults, the work-a-day reality is they must answer and use their device as an expectation of work. The results speak for themselves. We are busier and perceive we get less done. We have all had near-misses with talking and driving, or worse, yet texting and driving. Electronic distractions do not lend itself to quality family time. Doubt it? Watch the average family of eating out dinner. Four people are engaging with four devices not each other. In divorce and paternity cases, the overall time together is less so make it a point to pick a time when you and the kids are not too tired or otherwise distracted and turn them off and engage your child in activities. Or, just talk about what they are experiencing at school, doing in extracurricular activities, and what is going on with (and who are) their friends. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Your time then becomes more than the movement of a clock but true parenting. If you must use electronics, find games that will compel your kids to share information with you that result in an intimate connection or is an active learning experience for both of you. Put away the gaming devices and the iPads! Turn off Fortnite.
Most all recorded history has a theme of families sharing during mealtimes; these are great times or perhaps the best to engage with children. From preparing the meal (if you don’t have to eat out) to cleaning up, teaches parenting skills and routine and responsibility. If you work at it, meals—particularly with split households—become much more than about getting everyone fed and out of the way. Concentrate on making mealtimes an enjoyable experience, time of sharing whatever is relevant to you and your kids depending on their age and what is important now. Find out the high of your child’s day and the low. Talk about your favorite foods and how your tastes have changed over the years. Tell funny stories involving food or a meal. Talk about your childhood. These types of conversations make the most of your mealtime during an otherwise hectic day. While these are basic, they seem to have been lost—but key traditions—over time and places where families have bonded for years and years and long before even the TV or radio came to be a fixture in the mealtime dynamic. Take the distractions away and remember there is always time at meal time.
School today is far more encompassing of your child’s life than in your time. There are endless activities and parents are hands-on more than ever. It is also a place where your kids spend a tremendous amount of time wherein most divorce or paternity cases, you can be involved to the extent your schedule allows. This may not be the same time you get at home or when you are just doing something with your family, but it is important time as it lets you see who your children interact with and how they are outside your home and your direct supervision. So, volunteer to help with a school function. If your child is involved in a sport, attend as many games and practices as possible. If your child sings or dances, arrange sing-alongs or dancing parties during your parenting time. Depending on your child’s age, their feeling about your participation will vary from excitement to annoyance, but no matter what age, your child will know that you care about their interests. This will give you an insight into parenting that some parents who together never get to experience. Really, since childhood is preparing for being an adult, you can see how your children are doing in their everyday life—school and sports and activities are very similar to work and hobbies of adults. Take this time to have quality time with your children.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle domestic cases of all types throughout the state. Ultimately, the end objective of most custody litigation is to get quality time with your kids. When you get there, don’t forget these basic tips. They are simple but are tried-and-true and have weathered the test of time. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.