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Often our busy lives seem to be full of many distractions. With the hustle and bustle of everyday, do you feel like you don’t have time to do what you need to do as a parent, or that your skills as a parent could be improved? Here are some thoughts about being a more purposeful parent. None of these are new ideas, but it is often a great idea to review what we already know:
Use everyday tasks as educable moments:
Your children are watching you all the time and looking to you for guidance in everything. While you are driving the car, shopping, doing the laundry, going to the doctor’s office, they are watching you. How you do things, what you say, and the choices you make are opportunities for educable moments. Use this time with your little one to strike up conversations, to make plans for the week, or to teach them how to do something like sort the laundry or pick the lowest-priced item.
Turn off your technology:
While certain products make our lives easier, others provide distractions that pull us away from our children’s attention. If you are constantly checking your emails at home, using a handheld device, or talking on the cell phone, break this habit. Do not let technology pull you away from time with your family. Have a set time to have these items off in your home.
Turn off your child’s technology:
While movies in the car for long-distance trips can be a blessing, using them for around-town trips is not necessary. Think about what messages you are giving your child. Is he learning to be entertained in the car in ways other than using technology? How about singing songs together, playing fun guessing games, making up silly stories, or simply watching a whole world of wonderful creatures, colors, shapes, etc., outside the window?
Make time with your child your priority:
We often hear the phrase “quality over quantity.” However, I suggest when it comes to our children, the better phrase is “quality AND quantity.” Children need and yearn for positive time with us AND more time with us! It is up to us to find a balance that puts our children first.
Plan for the Future:
Think about what you want for your child over the next several years. What character traits are important and what values do you want your child to have? Write these down, and also include what dreams you have for her. Then think of what you need to do to make these dreams come true. Keep this list handy to review on those days when the hustle and bustle of everyday life gets you down.
Remember to be “present” with your children at all times. This is how they will learn to live purposeful lives themselves.