Many parents falsely believe that as long as they give their kids everything they need and want materially that their children will be satisfied. This may work temporarily but it will not work for the long haul. First and foremost, our children want us. They want our attention. They want our time.
Here are two ways we can do this:
1. Listen attentively to them.
This is a constant struggle for me. It is way too easy for me to not give my children my full attention when they are talking to me (especially if I am watching TV or if I am on the computer). What I am saying to my children when I do this is that they don’t matter to me. I am also saying that I don’t value what they are saying. Ouch!
On the other hand, when I do give my children my full attention when they are talking to me I am saying to them that they do matter and I do value what they are saying. To do this, we must stop whatever we are doing and look them in the eyes. This shows them that we are listening. We must also make the effort to engage with them as they talk to us.
2. Spend quality and quantity time with them.
A lot of parents believe that as long as they are giving their children quality time once in a while that this is good enough. I believe that this is not good enough. Don’t get me wrong. Quality time is very important but it can’t end there. We need to give our children quantity time too. We need to make it a priority to spend extended time with them.
Our children want to know that we think they matter. So they need time with us and nothing can compensate for our time. Kids don’t need things. They need parents. It is through quality and quantity time that we build powerful positive memories for our children. A few ways that we do this as a family is having family game nights, going to the beach for BBQ’s, family movie nights, walks and bike rides and prioritizing a family vacation every year.
What are some other ways that we can give our children our attention and our time?