What Your Kids Want Most Is Your Time, Not Your Money

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by Anna Butros
(California, USA)

It’s so easy to give your kids a few dollars and send them on their way. They probably even came to you and asked for money to hang out with their buddies. But, many times what they really want is time with you. They don’t want to interfere with your busy lifestyle so they take the easy way out by going out. You make it easier for them by handing over the money, no questions asked.

Today’s rapid paced world makes it difficult to find spare time to meet with your family much less spend quality bonding time. Everyone is always on the go and you see each other in the morning before the day’s activities begin and at night when everyone comes home; but then it’s time for bed.

Even meals are too often eaten standing up or at a fast food restaurant. There’s no time for conversation and that includes both talking and listening to your children. It’s the wise family that schedules time to be together.

Set aside at least one night a week for the family to be together, alone. This doesn’t mean the kids can invite friends over on that night. Take the phone off the hook or any activity or conversation will be constantly interrupted. If you’ve not done this all along and your kids are older, it will be difficult at first but soon everyone will look forward to it.

What you do is not that important. But, it’s important that you’re together. Talk to your children, asked them questions, be interested in their world and get involved if needed. Listen to how they spent their day and the problems and successes they had.

Board games for the family can be fun and entertaining. If you’re watching your budget, most board games can be found inexpensively at discount stores and yard sales. You probably already have the basic games such as cards, dominoes and checkers. Younger children love for someone to read to them. If they’re older, read with them and share what you’ve read afterwards.

Work together on crafts or cooking. Building something together is a great way to discover each other’s talents and converse at the same time. You probably remember when your dad helped you build a model airplane or go-cart. Perhaps it was memorable times in the kitchen with mom baking a cake or preparing dinner together.

Always compliment your children and emphasize the positive not the negative. Let them know you’re there for them anytime, anywhere. Hugs are always nice to enforce the positive and so are notes left unexpectedly on the refrigerator or lunch box.

All together, time doesn’t have to be spent at home but try to plan outside activities that allow interaction. A camping trip or fishing expedition would be fun and inexpensive. You could even camp out in the back yard.

Your kids probably are involved in many school sports, plays and festivals they would love for you to attend. Giving children your time and love is not expensive and one of the most worthwhileinvestments you’ll ever make.

Updated: November 12, 2012 — 12:42 am

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