Being a parent is tough; it’s a lot of sacrifice.
Despite this undisputed fact, an often overlooked perk to the position of parenthood is a lot of joy and fun, if you’re willing to let go a bit. While I’m certainly not a perfect parent by any stretch, these are some of the tips I’ve learned to truly enjoy my children and make both their time and my time together worth remembering.
Despite popular media’s push of material objects, your child wants one thing more than any other: you. Well, you and your time. So if you have a project (work or home) that an extra 20 minutes isn’t going to do much for, invest that time more wisely: do something with your son or daughter. Build a block tower. Draw a picture. Play a game together. Just do something and have a blast doing it. Remember: any time that you spend with your child isn’t wasted, it’s invested.
2. All or Nothing
In this age of always on technology, it’s easy to be too connected. Every once in a while, I’ll spend some time with one of my kids and find myself needing to “do something important” like check my email or text messages or see if anything is happening in the news. Meanwhile, the real “do something important” that needs to be done in those situations, is spending time with the kids. Make no mistake: kids need undivided attention at times, and in that context, anything else is the distraction. Not vice versa. While it’s easy to think of our grown-up situations as all-encompassing and all-important, in their world it’s just something that takes Mommy and Daddy away, so when you take time to devote to them, do it. Turn off the phone, step away from the computer and give them all of your attention. It’ll be the best part of their day.
3. Let Go a Little
When was the last time that you danced around the living room with you kid(s) like a fool? Or read the voice of the king in their favorite story with the voice of Sean Connery? This is also pretty awesome. There seems to be this mindset among adults that once you reach a certain age, you have to be “mature” all of the time and constantly act the part of the grown-up. Forget that. Throw it out the window. While there is in fact a time for grown-up things, sometimes part of being mature is knowing when to be immature. So be a kid with your kids sometimes. Run with them outside. Have some tickle fights. Make some memories.
One day, they’ll be your most treasured possession.