Get Involved: Actionable Tips to Spend More Time with Your Kids
Decades-long research has identified good parental involvement as one of the key factors for success in a child’s life.If you’re a parent racked by guilt over your inadequate or non-existent involvement in your kid's lives, you can quickly incorporate these tips in order to become more involved in their lives and give them the wonderful gift of love and time, thus, setting them up to become successful adults. Let's dive in.
Get involved in their education: In the past, all that was required from parents in order to guarantee their kid's success in school was to merely keep them clean, healthy and punctual for school, however, this view is changing and experts acknowledge the need for more. Here's how you can do more:
Sit with them when they do homework;
Gauge their grasp of the material, ask questions, work on some of the problems together.
Get in touch with their teachers regularly for updates on behavior and academic progress.
Attend PTA meetings and talk with their teachers.
Incorporate play into your parenting: Sing, dance, build things, joke, wrestle etc. If you want to become closer to your kids, you must learn how to become light-matured around them when need be. The quickest way to achieve this is by playing with your kids, and doing fun things together according to Dr. Joanne Stern, author of the book Parenting Is a Contact Sport. [link 2]
Create routines: Devise weekly, daily, monthly, and even yearly routines with your kids. Aim for simple activities such as walking, going out to eat, hiking, outdoor activities. It doesn’t have to be long: a quick one hour trip to the local ice-cream place may be all you need to open the lines of communication with your kids.
Ensure you’re home after school: If you work long hours, consider altering your schedule in order to be home when your kids come back from school. You can take turns with your spouse to ensure this happens. 3 - 6 PM is the danger zone for drug use. If you or your spouse can’t be there, arrange for an adult who has a positive influence on your kids and check-in with them a few times by telephone until you’re back.
Be present at their activities: A surefire way of becoming more involved in your kid's life is by being there at their activities: sports, recitals, performances etc. Not only do you get to meet other parents, you will be there to encourage and cheer your kid as well, not forgetting the opportunity for conversation and molding character such a time will avail you.
Who are their friends? Who are your kid's friends, do you know? If not, you need to know. Knowing who their friends are has dual benefits: you get know the type of company your kids keep, and you can steer them to make better choices if you find their choices questionable. Knowing the type of company your kids keep is highly important. Nothing corrupts good behavior faster than bad company!
Eat a few meals together per week: The fast-paced nature of modern life has made family mealtimes a dying tradition, but it doesn’t have to be so. Incorporate family meal times into your family’s tradition. Kids and teens who spend significant time with their parents are, according to the University of Nebraska [link 2], more likely to succeed academically, abstain from drugs and have deeper relationships with their parents.
Ask the right questions: You must absolutely get into the habit of asking your kids where they are going, who they’ll be with and the activities they have planned.
Some good questions you can ask before the outing include:
Where are you going to?
Who will be there?
What are you going to do there?
What time are you coming home?
Apart from your phone, what other means can I reach you on?
After the activity:
Did you have fun?
How are your friends? (try to use their friend’s real names to demonstrate familiarity)
What did you like about your outing?
Employing this tip will give you first-hand information on your kid’s life, and also get them to be comfortable talking to you about their friends.
Spend quality time with them: Give your kids gifts of undivided attention and love. Even if you have a hectic schedule, make out a few minutes each day to really, really listen and talk with your kids.
What does good involvement look like?
Good involvement in your kid’s life resembles a situation whereby you are present in their lives, but not excessively so. Remember, “mothering” can become “smothering” if it is unceasing. As in all things, a good dose of moderation and common sense will yield the desired outcomes for you.