Working and raising children is the great balancing act that an increasing number of parents perform. Parents who work outside the home face many dilemmas, questions and concerns about raising healthy, well-adjusted kids.
The time young children spend with their parents is essential for their healthy development, according to researchers in a wide range of fields. As such, working parents should make the most of the time they spend with their children.
Quality time, defined by development experts as meaningful time parents spend nurturing and teaching their children, is not reserved only for stay-at-home moms or dads. Many of the daily routines that busy parents share with their kidsstanding in line, waiting for the doctor, driving the kids to school, getting ready for bedcan be turned into special moments. All it takes is some imagination and creativity.
Below are a few suggestions for using the time devoted to everyday rituals to strengthen the parent-child relationship and teach skills and values that will benefit kids long into the future:
Bath time: Give your child a toy boat to float in the bath tub and ask her to guess how many pennies (or paper clips) she has to put in the boat to sink it. Then, ask her to test her guess.
Bedtime: Read a story to your child, and have him try to guess the ending before you finish the book to build creativity and imagination.
Car time: Play rhyming games, make up rap songs, and play the alphabet game, by spotting letters A through Z on passing signs.
Dinner-making time: As you prepare dinner in the evening, let your child help you cook or create a kitchen concoction while you cook. For example, fill a bowl with soapy water and let her beat with an eggbeater. Then add food coloring and have her continue to beat. See what happens!
Meal time: While the family is gathered, play word games, such as Im thinking of a word in the kitchen that begins with the letter J, or tell jokes and share funny stories to emphasize the importance of family togetherness.
Shopping time: Have your child play find the food to become more aware of what the family eats or check the change to become more aware of how much things cost.
All things considered, it takes a little imaginationand lots of lovefor busy, working parents to create activities that will help them raise happy, confident responsible children. By making anytime quality time, children will learn fundamental skills that will serve them well for a lifetime.