Several years ago, one of our Family First team members, Andy Mayer, shared a message with our entire team about how to make the most of our time as parents. This blog is based on some of his thoughts.
According to the British Heart Foundation, the average person spends 19 minutes a day thinking about his or her regrets. That’s two and a half hours a week. One of the top regrets people report having is not spending enough time with family. Ever since I became a dad, I’ve worked hard to be very intentional about spending quantity and quality time with each of my children. I want my kids to always know that being with them is a top priority for me. So here’s what parents should know about how to handle the time they have been given with their children.
1. Investing small amounts of time, over time, is cumulative.
Sharing lots of little moments with your kids over time adds up and is an important way to build trusting and loving relationships with them. They will know you love them because you want to be around them and they will learn to trust and depend on your presence. Just as eating healthy meals consistently leads to a healthier lifestyle, spending consistent time with your kids leads to a stronger relationship.Sharing little moments with your kids is an important way to build trusting and loving relationships with them.
2. Neglect is cumulative as well.
Maybe you were late getting home most nights this month and the kids were already in bed. You might say to yourself or your spouse, “Next month, I’ll do better and make up for it all.” But next month is really no different. Your neglect adds up and you start seeing the consequences of that neglect as your kids start misbehaving or rebelling more. They notice when you’re not home, not at the game, or not at the recital. While it’s understandable to have busy seasons of life, I can’t convey to you how important it is to still make time for your kids. Be there for the little things and big things in their lives because to your kids, everything is a big thing.
3. Random moments are not cumulative.
No one would expect to lose 50 pounds after eating one healthy breakfast. So how can you expect to have a deep connection with your kids after one afternoon of playing together? Random moments with your kids are not enough to satisfy their need for attention and affection from you. As I explained in my blog 5 Things Your Child Needs You to Be, your kids need to know you will always be there for them.
4. We can’t make up for lost time.
Time is one of our most precious commodities. And once it’s used, it’s gone forever. There are no “do-overs” with spending quality time. Missing your son’s big football game because you were finishing a project at work. Missing your daughter’s dance recital because you lost track of time. These are moments that can’t be recreated. So treat time with your children as a great gift to you and to them.
Sound off: What are some little moments of time you’ve consistently spent with your kids? What are some ways you’ve neglected that time with them?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s your first memory of our family doing something fun together?”