Parents are often entangled amidst a multitude of responsibilities, be it managing household work, jobs, own enterprise, social gatherings and an endless array of items... With so much going around, minds of parents are found plagued by the guilt of not being able to spend enough time with their kids. As a result of this feeling, the question often asked is, 'how can I find time to spend with my kids? How much is 'enough' time?'
In this post, you will read about the two frequently asked questions,
Why parents must spend time with kids?
How much time is actually 'enough' time?
1) Why parents must spend time with kids?
It's captured well in this quote of Jane D. Hull - "At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents"
Children learn what they see - Children are most influenced by what they see around themselves. If parents are to imbibe good values and ethics in their kids, then there is no-one else better placed than themselves to showcase similar value and belief structure.
Strong support system matters. A lot. - More often than not, children with strong support system in childhood grow up to become emotionally strong individuals to deal with life. This is observed by a Harvard research which quotes "The single most common factor for children and teens who develop the capacity to overcome serious hardship is having at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult"
Children's energy needs right direction - It's the easiest for a parent to identify key strengths and development areas for a child and guide him/her through the best path in initial years. After all, rarely do we find someone else who will be as committed to the overall development of a child as his/her parents are.
Pleasant childhood memories gives strength for lifetime - Good time with parents gives a lifetime of memories to cherish. We often recall our happy childhood memories as those which involve a bedtime ritual of storytelling, dad teaching cycling, playing card games as a family, cooking a meal together or so on. These moments remain precious and strength giving to kids for life.
2) How much time with kids is actually 'enough' time?
Is it 2 hours a day, or 4 hours a day, or 4 hours a week? The simple answer is, it is not and can never be brought down to a single number that fits all.
Depending on the requirements of child at a particular stage in life, his/her mental and emotional needs, the definition of 'enough' will vary.
'Enough' does not have to a high number. Go big or go home does not apply to spending time with children.
It just has to be a number dictated by feelings of both children as well as parents. If you're missing your children often or if they're often missing you, then it's a sign to spend a little more time with them.
Neither does 'enough' have to be a significantly low number that you miss out on habits that your child is developing, have no clue about his/her evolving interests and worldly perspectives.
Just spend 'enough' time to nurture the bond, the special bond that a parent and child share. Exactly like you have continued to nurture bonds in other relationships that are blooming beautifully!
While it is increasingly becoming common for both parents to be working and hence, finding it tricky to spend enough time with kids, it should be seen as a task/responsibility which shall be jointly fulfilled by both parents as well as the organizations (schools, crèche, etc.) where kids spend time. While nannies do a great job of handling kids' mess and their eating, shitting and cleaning routines, we strongly recommend a regular involvement of parents in upbringing the children as the values kids display and inherit will be those what they will see around them most of the time, and the fundamental values often play a large role in defining the quality of life that the child will lead. That's why they say, keeping good and like minded company is important to achieve desired goals and ambitions. Who to trust better than the kids' own parents for such strong and loving company, right?!
Also, read "How to spend 'quality' time with kids?" to understand the different kinds of development areas to focus on and essentials of spending quality time.