“I know that it is possible to be with my children all day and then look back and realise I didn’t actually spend time with them. I didn’t look into their eyes, I didn’t really see them. To be present in the body is not the same as being present in the heart and the mind” – Jenny Proctor
All parents want the best for their children and are concerned about their well being and happiness. At the same time, many parents find themselves limited to varying degrees in their ability to provide the love, care, warmth, support, direction and structure that is necessary for their optimal emotional development.
In reality, children cannot be raised on short bursts of attention and love. They may need you any time of the day. No matter how much one may wish to schedule a ‘quality time’ into their dairies, when it comes to implementing it, other things may interfere. Eg: You planned to spend (Quality) time with your child & watch a movie, whereas your child wants to go to a park. Dishing out a parental ‘Quality time’ in measurable doses is not a practical solution to bridge what the child needs and what you think he/she needs.
For children the rule is simple –Time = Love. One of the reasons why children get emotionally disturbed is not because their parents are working, but because the parents feel guilty about working. Parents usually compensate their loss of time by providing them with materialistic gifts/possessions. So when a mother is working, she comes home loaded with gifts and goodies. The obvious message ( What they want the child to know) is” I missed you during the day’, the hidden message is, “I feel bad abandoning you, I hope this gift will compensate for my absence and my time.” Thus instilling materialistic values and superficial believes in the bank of a child.
What children need is your time & complete attention – time to play, time to complain, time to talk/ discuss, time to hug and kiss and most importantly time to be with you. Your ‘presence’ is more valued than the ‘present’ that he/she receives. Spending time – Lets term it as ‘Love time’ means being emotionally, mentally, physically & most importantly spiritually with your child. Investing in smaller joyful moments with your child, have a meal together, baking together, talking a walk in the park builds a strong healthy parent – child relationship.
It’s important to realize that the very essence of Quality time / Loving time is to be available when someone needs you, no matter how inconvenient it is to you. Because this is what matter the most. The time & treatment you model is what the child is bound to do with other people in their life. Put those phones / laptops / books away and just be completely present in the moment.