By Richa Shukla:
A child’s first relationship is with their parents. They acclimatise to the world around them with the support and love he receives from his parents. Family serves as the backbone and the foundation which determine the nature of the child’s personality and their interpersonal skills. However, in today’s day and age, families have become busier. It’s easier to get wrapped up in handling life’s day-to-day challenges and lose sight of spending quality time with one’s child.
Children experience multiple challenges, feelings, emotions and stress in their everyday life. A healthy and trusting relationship with one’s parents helps them become more confident and capable of identifying, expressing and dealing with their emotions. Spending quality time with one’s children not only impacts their emotional and social well-being but helps one understand their interests, studying patterns and problems. They can also help reinforce good practices.
Hence, spending time with children should not just be restricted to carrying out the regular routine of dropping them to and picking them up from school, tuitions or hobby classes. Nor should they be restricted to attending special functions like annual day or sports day. There is a lot more that parents can do, even with the little time that they get to spend with their little ones.
At Sesame Workshop India, we develop content which helps parents engage better with their children. Here are a few ways to add quality to your family time.
In India, parents give a lot of importance to academics and playing is often regarded as an insignificant activity. It is vital to understand that playing leads to learning. It is important to indulge with kids in imaginative games and observe their behaviour. Through play, parents can understand how kids engage with toys, how they express themselves, how well they receive and comprehend instructions, how they overcome challenges which might appear while playing. Imaginative play not only allows children to think about their aspirations, it also helps in developing their problem-solving abilities as well as their socio-emotional development.
At Sesame, we’ve initiated a ‘Play Every Day’ project, where we are working with communities to understand their perceptions about playing and explain to them the significance of playing with their parents. The project aims to shift the paradigm that playing with kids requires complex resources. It only requires a little time and intent to indulge with the child and be their best companion. Anything available in your surroundings can be converted into a playing object. So, let your child catch hold of your dupatta, the rolling pin, a bottle, or even a shoe box and let them imagine these objects the way they want to. Be a part of their imaginative world and you’ll learn a lot with them.
Children love to help in the household chores. So, make sure you involve them in small jobs that are appropriate for their age. In fact, it is recommended that as kids grow, they should have household chores as part of their daily routine. Having interesting conversations and sharing anecdotes while setting the table or putting away the dishes is an experience you both are sure to enjoy. It also helps children become responsible and independent.
It’s a good idea to identify the things family members want to do together and plan a weekly excursion. Go out for a picnic, music concert, puppet show, watch a movie, play football, or even board games, at home. It will help your kid to explore more interests and hobbies while creating happy memories. Parents can take their kids for morning and evening walks which will help to inculcate a healthy habit in their kids. It is one of the best times to talk and listen to your kid and teach them a few healthy exercises.
Family members should never skip the chance of having meals together. Family meals help provide a consistent opportunity for conversations and create a shared experience. This experience is meaningful and offers a sense of belonging to all, including kids. This gives children a comfortable platform to express their feelings – to tell you about their day, if something went wrong, or update you about whatever went well.
Spending time with your children provides them with opportunities to learn and be heard. Most of all, it provides you with an opportunity to be your child’s companion and build that connection. It’s these connections that make your children feel loved. So, take those extra moments and spend them with your children. Ensure that whenever you are with your child, you are also mentally available for them. When you look back, you will be thankful for the memories you’ve built together.
The author is a content expert at Sesame Workshop India