Monday, September 8, 2014

Make Time for Family Time

Make Time for Family Time

Julia @ Kids Matter

          It really seems like, more and more, a two income household isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. As the cost of living increases and pay remains stagnant, more parents find the daunting reality that daycare teachers get to spend more time with their children than they do. As shocking as that sounds, most of you know what I mean. I was a preschool teacher and I can tell you that the bond between teacher and child is very strong. I’ve had parents call me at night because their children couldn’t go to bed without talking to me first. I’ve had children throw tantrums in a restaurant if they happened to see me eating there too, and I was not sitting with them. I have left a date sitting alone while I joined the child for dinner.
           Many parents have confided in me that they feel guilt about how little time they have with their children. When they broke it down, they realized that during the week they spend maybe four hours a day with their children, while the teachers get to spend ten.

           Teachers usually have a reward system in the classroom, like a sticker chart. This is a cute and awesome way to get your little ones to learn responsibility, and create opportunities for family time. Have a Sticker Chart in your home, in a location that everyone visits. Reward your child daily with stickers if they: behave, do chores, get a good report from their teacher, or any other age appropriate rules you agree on when making the chart. By the end of the week, if your child has a sticker every day they are rewarded with a treat.
              Give your child “family responsible choices” as treats, and try to avoid buying a toy as a reward. An example would be to allow them to pick between two treats like, choosing a game the family will play together, or helping to make cookies for family game night. Family responsible choices affect the whole family. This way they learn to understand how choices affect a group, and not just themselves. Allowing them to pick out a toy each week is nice, but it doesn’t really teach them how their efforts throughout the week help the family as a unit. Letting them have a toy as a reward is like your child earning a paycheck. That ‘paycheck’ really only benefits the child and not the whole family.  
           You can’t help your work schedule, so don’t allow that to bring you down and feel guilty. Instead, on weeknights, turn the TV or game systems off, and sit down to dinner together and talk about the day. The weekends should have the same structure as week days with bedtimes, naps, etc., but devote a lot of time to family time. Ride bikes, go to the park, see a movie, make/decorate a cake, feed the ducks, or go to a museum. The possibilities are endless when you make more time for family time.

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