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Are you tired of running in circles? Do you feel like you can’t keep up? If you have infants, toddlers, or preschoolers, your days are probably filled with the endless activities of caring for your little one. If you have school-age kids, your days are probably filled with their activities – sports, music, scouts… We want our kids to have opportunities to participate in these great activities, but our days (and our tires) spin unceasingly. Is finding balance even possible?
How do we provide a good balance for our kids, so that the things that need to be done get done, and they have a good, positive, well-rounded childhood? Isn’t that what we’re really after? To give our kids the best we can?
But in our striving, are we giving them our best?
In all of our going and doing, do we really take time to talk with our kids? To share ideas and funny stories and day-to-day ramblings? To focus on them, right where they are, and share what is running through their heads?
I suspect many of us do not. We are so busy running from one activity to the next that we are missing the greatest opportunity – a strong relationship with each child.
Are we too busy?
My kids can tell when I’m not really listening. I’m half listening and half focused on something else I am doing at the same time. I’m not talking about chatting with them while we peel potatoes for supper. I’m talking about “listening” to them while I scan Facebook. (Gulp!)
When we have too many activities on our plates, we begin to multitask every moment, so we can get it all done. But when we multitask our time with our kids, we miss out. They know we’re not truly listening, which communicates that what they are saying is not that important. After a while, they quit sharing.
How do we begin finding balance?
My challenge to you is to take a good hard look at your average daily schedule, and your average week. Are you running here and there every night, grabbing dinner at a drive-thru so you can make it to the next activity on time? How much time do you have to just talk with your kids, or to sit and play a game with them? Do they have free time to just be kids, or are their days completely filled with good experiences that are pre-planned for them?
The activities aren’t bad. In fact, they may be excellent opportunities. But let’s take some time to really think about how we are spending our time. We have such a limited time with our kids. We need to make sure we balance all these great activities with good quality down-time together.
One step for this week.
Let’s find one day in this coming week when we can intentionally focus on our kids, whether that’s setting aside time to play games, or going for a walk together – create an opportunity for conversation and sharing.
If you haven’t done this in a while, the conversation might not come easily. Give it time. It may take several separate attempts before your kids feel comfortable opening up, but just keep trying. Each time is another step closer to the middle, another step closer to finding balance.