Time is precious and so are our children. Thus, the most valuable thing that we can give them is our time.
In today's world, where technology has got the better of us, it is becoming increasingly hard to do so. I am a stay-at-home mom and I have a four year old daughter. I believe that when it is 'our' time, it should be only 'us'. Even though we like watching shows like Ghotu Motu Ki Toli together, there are times when there is no cell phone, no TV, no laptop/ipad with us and that makes her happier because she knows she's got my undivided attention. It's all that she needs.
Another way of looking at it is that in today's competitive world, we, as parents, engage our children in all kinds of activities (sports, music, dance, etc.) which are necessary and important. But, in doing so, we also pass on our responsibilities to those who teach them-which is fine as well. What isn't right, is that we then compromise on the time we spend with our little ones, knowing that we kept them busy and happy through the day. They still need us. I take my little girl out for dancing and swimming after school and she absolutely loves those activities, but when I also see the excitement on her face as she tells me about all the stuff she's thought for us to do together, that's the best feeling ever.
Three simple parenting ideas that have worked for me:
1. Children need a minimum of 8-12 touches during a day to feel connected to a parent – it could be a pat on the shoulder or, a simple hug.
2. Children need one meaningful eye-to-eye conversation with a parent each day - they need us to slow down and look at them in the eyes.
3. There are 9 minutes during the day that have the greatest impact on a child – the first three minutes right after they wake up, the three minutes after they come from school, the last three minutes of the day before they go to bed – we need to make these moments special and help them feel loved.
It might seem a tad bit easier for a stay-at-home mom like me but hopefully, it's something a working mom can do as well.
Written By: Gauri Jain, a doctor and an Indian mother of a curious 3 year old daughter living in the USA.