By Eyinade Eweje
The importance of dedicating more quality time to our children cannot be over-emphasized. This year offers a fresh opportunity to renew your commitment to this in view of making more positive impacts in their lives while also putting broad smiles of contentment on their faces. We will show you how in 14 ways.
It’s a good idea to sit with them sometime and ask about their preferences, as these will elicit more excitement and be more impactful. In the meantime, here are 14 ideas to start with. Create fond memories, laugh, have fun, teach skills, impart knowledge and instill life-long lessons. Be their favourite person; a dedicated mum or dad who’s always fun to be with.
1. Go on individual dates with each of them
That’s right! You could rotate this starting with the youngest. And hey, who says you have to take them to places where you pay through your nose? There are quite a number of fun places where both of you can grab pocket-friendly refreshments, have fun running around, talking, exploring the environment and whatever else appeals to you. Go to the mall together, go carting or watch a movie.
The benefits of squeezing individual dates with your kids into your busy schedule are immeasurable. You get to devote time to just one child per time, discovering his uniqueness, creating a stronger bond and helping him learn new things effortlessly. Don’t forget to capture the moments, keep your camera or smartphone very handy. Those pictures will also enable his siblings get more than just stories about your fun date when you arrive, keeping them anticipating their turn with bated breath.
Research has proven this to be the best way kids learn, and the best part is, it’s the best way they have fun too. So, you can imagine the extra bits of fun, laughter and learning that are added when mummy or daddy joins in. Perhaps your child loves video games, play his favourite with him occasionally (doesn’t matter if you’re not a pro; your child will have even more fun teaching you how to play and laughing at your mistakes in the process), then introduce him to your own favourites. Teach them how to play board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Chess, Draught, Ludo and so on. How about building with legos and solving puzzles? The possibilities are really endless!
3. READ BOOKS, TELL STORIES
Instilling a reading culture in your children is one of the best favours you can do them and they’ll love you for it in the future. This develops their language use, comprehension, verbal intelligence, amongst others. Select varieties of books for children within their age bracket, then, make it a tradition to read or hear them read a few pages daily. On certain days, have each of them read some portions to you and summarize what they’ve read. You should also create a tradition of telling stories of different kinds. Invite them to share theirs too. Listen, laugh and ask them to share the moral of the stories.
4. CREATE FAMILY TV TIME
Watching television with your kids allows you screen what they view and guide them to see appropriate content. While watching a movie for instance, you could subtly initiate talks on sex education through related scenes or invite comments on the moral lessons derivable from the movie and wrap it up with your own views. Use real life examples they can identify with where applicable. In addition, watch educational channels for kids, videos on varieties of school subjects, documentaries, news and current affairs, science fiction (for older kids), and so on. Use these avenue to subtly share some of your knowledge with them.
Teach your kids to learn to live for others too by volunteering with them in church or your community for instance, and sorting out items you do not need any more to donate to charity. Raise compassionate kids! Arrange to visit an orphanage or old people’s home with them to give your widow’s mite, enable them see the flip side of living and be thankful for whatever they have.
6. PICNICS & EXCURSIONS
Make arrangements for occasional family picnics at the beach as well as field trips to places of interest. Go to a museum where there are lots of interesting relics to learn about or zoo. Your road trip will afford you the opportunity to point at places they might have heard about which you pass by and earmark other likely sites to visit. As usual, don’t forget to capture the sights and sounds with your camera or smartphone.
See part two here