Feeling guilty about not spending enough time with the kids?

Beat parenting guilt with these simple tips

Parents often feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children. Life seems so busy with work. As well as taking care of the home and everything that needs to be done when raising a family. With all that busyness there’s often very little time left to spend with the kids.

If parents don’t spend quality time with their children, their children could come to the conclusion that they’re not important. This can harm a child’s sense of self-worth.


Strategies for special time with your child

By making time to spend just 10-15 minutes of one-on-one quality time with each of your children every day (or every other day), parents show their children that they are important – that they matter. Making time for your child demonstrates you care. It shows you’re interested in how they’re going. And that you’re there for them if they need support or just someone who’ll listen.

Here are some ideas for times to get together:

  • When your children get home from pre-school or school;
  • After you return from work;
  • After dinner; or
  • Before bed

Remember it’s only 10-15 minutes – every parent can find a few minutes each day or every other day.

More than one child?

If you have more than one child, you can schedule one-on-one meetings at different times during the day. Or perhaps make it at the same time each day and meet with a different child on consecutive days. Having one-on-one time makes every child in your family feel special. 

The key is being fully present

One-on-one time with your full attention says so much to your child about your priorities. Remember, no phone, no cooking or being distracted, just being 100 per cent present with your child. It’s not about the quantity of time it’s about the quality of time you spend together. 

What child wouldn’t feel loved and valued in that environment? So why not try it?

Let your child choose the activity

Ask each of your children how they might like to spend 10-15 minutes one-on-one with you every day. It could be to simply hang out together and talk. Or something more active like going for a walk or kicking a ball around. Perhaps something as simple as playing an electronic or board game or having a delicious snack together.

Explain to your children how important they are

Your children might not realise how much you love them and how important they are. Especially if you seem busy all the time and have little time for them. 

So that they KNOW how much they mean to you, explain clearly to your child in words they’ll understand how important they are and that you’re making time just to be with them.

You might say something like “I know it might seem to you that I’m often very busy doing my job or housework and don’t have much time for you, but I want you to know that you are very important to me and I love you with all my heart. So, I want to show you how much I care and so from now on every day (or every second day) I’m going to make time just for you and me to talk, play and just be together and you get to decide what we do…it’s our special time together”.    

The key is to make it uninterrupted special time for your child, doing what they want to do with you and sharing what they want to share with you. Remember, if you can’t manage to find the time every day, then make it every second day – just make it a regular thing that your child can count on.

Now that might not sound like much but think about it like this. What if your child looks back on their childhood and can say  “My mum or dad made time for me every day – I was important to them. I got to choose what we did together and they made time for me to talk about my day. The good things and the not so good things. They were always there to celebrate my successes with me and to help me through the hard times. I remember walking, talking and playing games…”   

Making a change to your daily routine to make special time for each of your children makes an enormous difference to family life. It creates beautiful memories and a nurturing a deep bond with your children that you’ll share for life.

Dr Rosina McAlpine is the ToBeMe Early Learning Thought Leader for Curriculum Development and Parenting. She is the CEO and creator of the Win Win Parenting program. As a leading parenting expert, Dr Rosina appears regularly in the media. Dr Rosina has a Masters and PhD in Education and is an internationally recognised, award-winning researcher and educator.

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