The following is by one of our new contributors, NJ Renie. Welcome to Simple Kids, NJ!
Most of the best workers are also deft managers of their schedules. Employers love those of us capable of staying on task and committed to the priorities of the company. Of course, often those same work habits start to rob us of that family bond which constitutes the reason why most of us are working in the first place.
Sure we make it a point to eat, worship, and play together as a family, but what about the really good stuff –that one-on-one personal bond –how can we get that and still remain employed?
Well, rather than fighting you and your partner’s busy work schedules, why not start penciling your bonding time into them?
When we work we develop a daily routine. We start the coffee, take a shower, and hit the door at roughly the same time each day. Even when you are tired and grumpy you do not think of leaving the house without a shower –okay maybe you do, but just go with me here –think of your daily bonding time the same way as bathing, essentially non-negotiable.
Try to make sure that each working parent has dominion over at least one relatively pleasant part of the daily routine. In our house, morning start times are up in the air, but my wife’s arrival time is, thanks to her scheduling habit, quite reliable. After dinner, my wife handles the bedtime routine and I do the dishes, by an hour after dinner we are both ready for down time.
Photo by Shutterstock
Bonding on Your Days Off
Consider making a part of your day off one-on-one bonding time with each of your children. Take a class or schedule a weekly outing; with older children, take turns planning or plan the activities together. You could have your kid draw from on an old deck of cards with 52 activities written on the faces, have fun with it.
This time would also be great for sharing your hobbies and interests with your children: teach them to fish or swim, take them bird watching, rebuild a car together, attend a play or reading, teach them the secrets of your wicked cross-over; whatever you love, get in the habit of scheduling the time to share it with your child.
Not only will both of you look forward to it, you will be teaching your child how to relate to others via the vanishing art of recreation.
Don’t Forget About Each Other!
Make a date: mornings or evenings, monthly or weekly, meet for lunch –whenever you can and the more often the better. Try to skip the movies and do something active: search for your area’s best burrito, enroll in a night class, take a hike, or whatever else gets you out and playing together.
None of this is perfect, things will come up, and families where both parents work and/or big families may find once-per-month a better fit than once-per-week, etc., but as long as you respect the need for scheduled bonding time just as you would your work schedule, your family will have the time to learn from and about each other.
How do you make time?