The excitement and anxiety at the beginning of the school year has now eased, and most parents have settled in to a daily routine, even if it feels chaotic at times. The rush to get ready for school in the morning and the evening routine, with homework, after school activities, friends, lunches and dinner can feel overwhelming for both children and parents. We can miss out on those important moments when we really connect and communicate with our children. We can also get so caught up in ploughing through the tasks at hand, that we find we don’t have the time to have fun with our children and really enjoy family life. No one gets this right all of the time, but below are a few things that might help.
Don’t Over schedule. After school activities can be an important part of your child’s development—they can learn new skills, make new friends, find a real passion in life. But, the overscheduled child won’t be able to enjoy it, and it may cause them to feel stress and anxiety. Find a couple of things that your child really enjoys, and let them focus on that. Remember that your passions may not be their passions.
Eat Together. Try to make the family dinner table a place for all the family to share their day, have some fun and reconnect. You may not be able to do it every day, but make a real effort to prioritise it as often as possible, even if that means being a bit flexible with the time.
Find time when there is no time. Many parents and children spend a lot of time together on the way to somewhere else. Try to make the most of this travelling time and spend it chatting with your child. These don’t need to be deep conversations—just a space where you and your child enjoy each other’s company.
Unplug. We all know this one, but the ping of a phone or tablet can seem impossible to resist. Make sure that both you and your children put the gadgets away for a time every day so that you can focus on each other. You will be setting a good example for your children, and they will get the clear message that they are more important than the siren song of the gadgets.
This article was contributed a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations.