The aim of every parent is to raise happy and well-adjusted child(ren). From my experience as a single father to reading hundreds of books on parenting. There is one ingredient that holds true. Its that children from birth to adulthood need time and attention from their parents.
I can remember spending a lot of time with my sons when they were toddlers and in their school age years. However, as they reached their pre-teen and teenage years. I found myself stepping into the backdrop of their personal lives.
You see I was involved in their daily school regimine, their after-school activities, and all of their sporting events. The area that I struggled the most to engage my son's was in the area of (P.F.T) Personal Family Time.
So like many parents my attention was centered around raising “successful” son’s so much so. That I overlooked all the opportunities to spend personal quality time with them.
So today I want to share the benefits children gain when parents create space for personal family time.
Benefits of Personal Family Time on Child/to Parent:
- A child feels important and loved.
- A child gets an opportunity to practice the behavior of his or her parents.
- A parent observes the child’s strengths.
- The child has a chance to voice their thoughts and feelings.
- The parent and child develop a stronger bond.
The key to PFT is to give your family your full attention by being both physically and emotionally present. So by spending personal family time parents can create an environment filled with love, understanding, and support.
So here is a list of activities you can use to get you started:
- Family meal time. This could become a family event from the selection of the menu, preparing the food and table, serving, eating together, and cleaning up. During the meal, children and adolescents can be encouraged to talk about what is interesting to them, and not necessarily the usual topics like school and work.
- Homework. If parents can spend positive time with their children without conflict, this can be a good bonding experience where the school work itself is just a means to the end.
- Sports. Whether it is playing catch in the yard, going to the gym, or watching the child play or perform, active and positive involvement is rewarding.
- Hobbies such as drawing, crafts, collecting are great fodder for conversation.
- Games. Board games and cards allow for the family to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
- Religious activities.
- Shopping with the family can make a simple chore an event.
- Entertainment. Attend a concert or show together.
- Go to the theater, watch television, or rent movies. By watching some shows your child enjoys, you will learn more about him/her and can use the topics brought up for more interesting discussions.
- Outdoor activities such as hiking, walks, bicycling, picnics, or camping.
- Reading Time. For younger children, get in the habit of reading to them. For the adolescent, ask what book they are reading and then read it yourself. In both cases, engage the child in a discussion about the book.
In summary, personal family time should be a fun and enjoyable way to raise healthy and happy children/teens that love and feel loved. Making small changes in the way you spend time with your children. Will leave children/teens knowing that they“matter” and this will be reflected in their life choices.