The scariest thing about time is that we often forget about it.
It’s a concept as old as, well, time itself. How far back do you think that traces…? Anyway, we tend to lose track because life gets busy.
It only clocks back in to remind us with that first gray hair.
With a baby’s first steps and then, suddenly, graduation from high school a blink later.
Its ticking increases to unbearable, deafening heights with wrinkles carving smooth lines into a face that used to be full and bright with youth.
It reminds us as humans that we are slaves to time with death and loss.
But there is also beauty in watching time take effect.
As a parent, you have your own canvas to alter, teach, and mess up in your own specific way over time.
If you think back to being a kid, you don’t remember your parents’ clocking in for their two-hour shift as Mom or Dad. We do not remember the hours spent. We carry the memories within those hours.
If you have to wonder whether or not you are spending enough time with your kids, you already have the answer.
Do you know your child’s friends’ names at school? Do you read them that one last story they beg for before bed? Do you play the games they show you from their imagination?
Kids have no concept of time to start. What they can understand is what it feels like for their parents to be there. So, be there. Listen to them hurl words at a hundred miles per hour and remind them you love them.
It gets tough when all you want to do after a long day of work is kick back with a drink and watch some TV or just crash. But children crave attention from you. Older children may show that you are not spending enough time with them with poor grades in school, behavioural problems, and withdrawal from you or potentially substance abuse. For younger children, they may have behavioural problems, frequent potty accidents, withdrawal from you, or drastic mood swings when you are not around.
To ensure your children feel that you want to spend time with them, have a family calendar that plans all the activities in the week. This way, slots can be allotted for quality time with your kids. This quality time does not require that much effort. It could just be that you and your kids are watching movies together in the family room, joking around and talking and being close.
Another great way to guarantee that you spend time with your kids can be to have an activity you enjoy regularly. Take the kids swimming at the community centre every Saturday afternoon and then go for ice cream after. This is something your children can look forward to and it may even encourage them to suggest a new family activity. Be open to their suggestions because this is a way for them to show you their interests. Trying something new together makes for a memorable experience as a family. Also, taking a family vacation is a more expensive means of spending time with your kids, but if you are able to do so, it is definitely worth it. It’s a chance to get away from the stress of real life and simply enjoy the comfort of family and love. While young kids may not remember every single detail of the trip, they will remember the feelings associated with it and it will remind them that they are lucky and loved. However, even getting kids involved in routine activities such as making dinner is an interactive way to spend time while teaching them valuable life skills. These are just a few suggestions; get creative and ask your kids what they might want to do with you.
It doesn’t have to feel like you are in Inception and it’s you against time…minus the part of getting stuck within a dream within a dream within a dream.
If you feel like you don’t have time, look harder because there is always a way to make time.
The last thing you want to do is catch your child’s first steps and blink and suddenly, it’s graduation day and they are off to college.
Be there for the life that happens in between because for a kid, making time means being there.
And that is one of the greatest gifts you can give as a parent.
Yourself and your time.