Sometimes it takes a perspective-shifting experience to remind you where your priorities lie. In the wake of the global health crisis, many parents are stopping to re-evaluate their work-life balance or even the quality of time spent with their loved ones.
Being at home forces you to be together, but it doesn’t make for quality moments – these take considerable effort and thought. So, for any dad who is looking to forge quality moments with your kids, here are some top tips to help you along:
Create a ritual
Part of your bonding time should be something your child can identify with and can become your “thing” together. Whether it’s reading a bedtime story or enjoying a glass of milk together, make sure that each day, you and your child have that special ritual – only between the two of you.
Add it to your to-do list
Some days you are going to be preoccupied with a hundred things to do, but by adding bonding to your to-do list, it’s a regular, planned part of your day. Prioritise it as you would any of your other daily interactions and make sure to acknowledge and respect quality time as a part of your daily responsibilities.
Put down your phone
It can be hard to shut down and give the little ones your undivided attention. Don’t allow yourself to “just respond to a text.” Or “make a quick phone call” while you are spending quality time with your kids. Try to power through the loops of Peppa Pig or the off-key rendition of Let It Go and respect that the time you offer is truly undivided. Keep your phone out of reach to avoid the temptation of using it while you are spending time with your kids.
Don’t place too much expectation
Whether it’s bonding with baby at bathtime or helping your teen with their geometry homework, any time is quality time to your kids. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your kids to make time together with an ‘event’ but rather a special but normal part of daily life.
Take on some of the day-to-day stuff
Don’t be afraid to change the nappy or get involved with the baby bathing and if your kids are older, why not get involved in the spring hat making or the big casual day outfit decision. Investing in the day-to-day stuff will let your kids know that they can come to you for anything they may need.
Each moment adds up, even if your kids don’t remember all of them – don’t be too hard on yourself because there is no such thing as a perfect parent, only a real one. The big prize is in trying every day. And before you know it, that soft, beautiful, newborn skin makes way for an emerging toddler, child and teen with the precious memories you can be a part of.