Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making Sure you’re Spending “Quality Time” With Your Child

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For working parents, managing their home and work is a fine balancing act. And when there is a child involved, things get that much trickier! But parents must understand that the ‘real time’ they spend with their child is what is actually fulfilling. And it takes just a small effort to plan “Quality Time” into their daily routine.
“A few days back, my 3-year-old son was frantically trying to get my attention at the park,” narrates 30-year-old Ramya. “It took me three minutes to respond to him. And that surely annoyed him!” she says with an embarrassed smile. A banker by profession, she had taken the afternoon off to be with her boy. But what with the phone calls, SMSes and not to forget the work-on-the-move BlackBerry, the afternoon off didn’t quite seem like one. Clearly, what her child wanted was not his mother’s physical presence, but her undivided attention.
Dr. Mangala Ayre, an expert on early childhood development, stresses that parents need to spend meaningful time with their child and the number of hours they spend has very little to do with the kind of time they spend with their child. Something that media professional Aruna Natarajan understands fully. “I create activities and specific times when we do stuff together,” she says. For instance, it’s either story time before he goes to sleep or a cycle ride to the park on weekends. “It is usually just the two of us and I normally do not attend any phone calls then,” she adds.
Dr. Ayre suggests that parents perform at least one simple task daily for their child that relates to a physical need and an emotional need. For instance, she recommends simple activities such as brushing their teeth, bathing them, dressing them up, helping them eat, or being with them at bedtime. “Find those few minutes in the day to touch, feel and hug your child” she says. “Do small, but, meaningful things that make them emotionally secure. Use endearments and words of praise generously.”
 Do snatch some quality time with your child whenever possible. There is no organized way of doing this and a lot depends on the schedules of the parent and child. But, either parent must definitely find time to play with the child, at his level as a playmate, and with his favorite toys! For instance, Meenakshi Karuppiah, an architect, spends post-dinner time with her two kids doing what they love to do the most – painting with her  eight-year-old daughter Yamini or building blocks with her  four-year-old son Adithan.
Dr. Ayre offers some simple tips to get quality time with your child:
1.When you are out shopping for vegetables, invite your child to point out his favourite veggies, allow him to pick some. Ask him to share what he has learnt at school with you. Use that time to interact with your child.
2.While bathing your child spend those few minutes in fun and meaningful dialogue rather than mouthing do’s and dont’s.
3.While you give him dinner, tell him a  story and ask him which one he has heard in school. Let him talk. Doesn’t matter if it takes five extra minutes. He will eat without watching the food and your work will get done faster.
“I allow them to help me in the kitchen and with gardening!,” says Meenakshi. They also have some physical activities together like playing foot ball or cricket in the play area on Saturday or Sunday.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if work keeps you away for long hours from your home and child. Just make sure you have a list of ‘must-do together’ things and snatch those precious moments of bonding with your child!

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