by Kay Carter
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder
In the midst of a hectic work week and shuffling your children around from school to sports practice to other activities, it can be hard to actually connect with your kids and spend quality, meaningful time with them.
If you want to prioritize the time you have with your children and stay up-to-date with their lives, here are five ways you can be more engaged (without being a complete helicopter parent).
1. Plan each day ahead of time
When you have a general sense of what the day will look like, you’ll be able to capitalize on little pockets of time with your child. Maybe you have free time when giving your children a ride to school or maybe it’s when the whole family is seated around the dinner table.
Wherever you find pockets of free time, try to start a conversation with your child by asking a few questions about their day, followed by big updates with friends, school, and other activities.
2. Practice active listening
When you have a ton of things running through your mind, it can be hard to listen to your kid as they talk to you. However, when you just brush off what they have to say, they might start to lose that comfort and trust they have when communicating with you.
Essentially, they could think that you never listen to them, causing them to look to other outlets for communication. When your child is speaking to you, really take the time to hear what they have to say and respond with comments related to the conversation.
3. Create a family space
Make the living room or basement a warm and inviting space for you and your family to hang out.
Ensure there’s enough seating for everyone in your family, place comfortable pillows and throw blankets around the room, and have games, books, and movies on hand for a spur-of-the-moment family night.
4. Try to stick to promises
If you say you’re going to be home for dinner, do your very best to be home at the time you said. If you promised your kids you’d take them to the movies on the weekend, follow through to the best of your ability.
Broken promises can lead kids to stop expecting things from their parents and cause them to rely on friends or other people to follow through.
5. Become involved
One super easy way to be a more engaged parent is to get involved with your child’s life. Volunteer on the PTA board at your child’s school, sign up to be an assistant coach for your kid’s soccer or football team (or any sport for that matter), practice an instrument with them, or have play dates with their friends and parents. Getting involved in your kid’s life shows them that you care about them and that they matter.
About the Authir: Kay Carter is a writer from Raleigh, NC. When she isn’t writing about the latest wellness trend, you can find her reading, traveling, or listening to a true crime podcast.
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