School’s out and chances are you’ve had an extremely busy and tiring year being involved in your children’s school and extracurricular activities. As the long-awaited school holidays are finally here, it is an opportune time to slow down and unwind. If possible, take a day or even just an afternoon to yourself. Do what you truly enjoy - reading, taking a stroll through the park. Anything that helps you relax!
Other than taking time out for yourself, the school holidays also present a great opportunity for you to focus on your family and spend more time with them. It is commonly thought that quality time is more important than quantity time, but the fact is both are equally necessary.
Quality & Quantity Time
Quantity time creates a safe environment where our children can feel accepted and valued for who they are. It communicates availability and fosters a sense of security. It establishes a solid home base from which children can launch out into the world with confidence and strength.
Quality time, on the other hand, is essential to the process of family bonding. It is the stuff from which relationships are made. It is the polished gem that caring parents fashion from the raw material of moments, hours, and days spent together.
The thing to note is that it is difficult to have one without the other. The more family time we create, the more opportunities we have to touch each other's lives in profound ways. You can't seize the moment if you are absent from it. It is highly difficult to create meaningful memories and have life-changing conversations with a few contrived minutes.
None of this happens automatically, of course. It's entirely possible for a family to spend lots of time together and come away the worse for it. This is especially true if their interactions are marred by constant strife, anxiety, or abuse. The key to success is intentionality. That means making up your mind to be present in the moment and to make the most of every circumstance.
Seize the Moment
To start, take steps to reduce your outside commitments and block out weekly family time on the calendar. Agree to turn off all devices at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. Instead of watching television, read together, play board games, take a walk, or simply sit and talk. Get into your kids' space, hang out with them and find out what excites them. This is all part of the process of turning quantity into quality time.
Meanwhile, don't forget to take full advantage of simple everyday interactions. Car time, mealtime, meal preparation, bath time, bedtime –are all precious opportunities for shared discoveries and unanticipated conversations between parent and child. It's a matter of learning to savor life's ordinary moments. Most children find just as much, or even more joy in the little things, as they do in life's big events. Activities like eating a special breakfast of chocolate-chip pancakes, picking out the perfect backpack for the first day of school, or singing silly songs in the car could turn out to be some of the most memorable highlights of your kids' childhood.
Even when the busyness starts all over again in the next school year, these activities do not need to end. Make them a part of your daily lives, and your family will surely benefit from it.
© 2015 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.