Do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day? There’s work, school, grocery shopping, family events, soccer practice, dance class, homework, etc. And those are just the things that we plan for! As our families grow, our list grows. With all of these responsibilities, it sometimes feels like we only get to spend minutes with our children each day. Parents of preschoolers often feel the added pressure to make sure their child is “Kindergarten Ready”. I have parents tell me all of the time that they spend their evenings having their preschoolers practice their ABCs or learn their numbers. When I ask how that is going, the usual response is “not well”. The parents are frustrated and the children are bored. So with everything on our plates, what do our children need from us in those precious moments?
The answer is time. They need time to talk with us, eat with us, help us and play with us. They are learning everything they need to know at this age through their interactions with people and their environment. So we, their parents, are their most important role models. They need to know that we care about what they are thinking and feeling, and that they are supported. And the only way that they will know this is if we spend quality time together. The social-emotional skills that our children need for future success are learned through these every day interactions that we as busy adults often take for granted. Remember, children learn by doing. So when you are counting out the plates for dinner, they are learning their numbers. When you are reading a bedtime story, they are building their literacy skills. And most importantly, you are having fun in the time you have together!