In his recent newsletter "Happy Kids", parenting expert Michael Grose (yes he is an expert with three kids of his own) said:
Australian parents currently rate achieving work-family balance as their greatest parenting challenge. Currently, 71% of Australian parents say they have difficulty finding time to do the things they enjoy with their children.
So what are the key relationship-builders to focus on when you are busy and life is full on?
A number of different studies show children and young people want three types of interactions with their parents:
Family rituals such as reading to children in bed, shared mealtimes and celebrations. Some activities may come and go but rituals by definition are cut in stone.
One-on-one interactions are vital for relationship building. Whether it is playing a game with a child or having a coffee with a teenager make sure you regularly spend some time with each of your children on their own. This goes double for middle children or those having difficulties in their lives.
Down-time so that spontaneous and fun interactions can occur. Family holidays and lazy Sundays provide opportunities to connect on an informal basis with children. This is particularly important for fathers who tend to communicate best when having some shared fun with their son or daughter.
The challenge for busy people is to carve out some time for these important relationship-building opportunities. Those people who can successfully balance the two spheres of work and family use similar skills at home to those they use at work such as prioritising, delegating and planning ahead. Make family activities a priority and plan around them rather than fitting them in at the end of the day or week when you are tired. It also helps if you get support from home and also have some support and recognition at work that you have a family at home that needs your energy and attention.
You Can Turn Your Life Around
You certainly can turn your life around by learning to say ‘no’, learning how to manage your time and then taking action.
That’s right. Everyone tells you how busy and how little time they have, yet most people do nothing to learn the skills that will have a dramatic impact on their work and personal lives.
Cats in the Cradle
For those of you old enough to remember, Harry Chapin recorded a song called "Cats in the Cradle". It was about a young boy whose Dad was always busy working. He never seemed to be available when his son wanted to be with him. Over the years this continued until the boy became an adult. By then his Dad had retired and had time on his hands, however his son had now become too busy to see his Dad. He too was working and had kids. The tables had turned. All of a sudden the Dad realised what he had done. He was too busy caught up in his work and missed out on his son growing up.
The Final Word
Bringing up balanced, positive and well-adjusted children is the most satisfying thing you can ever do. Whatever successes you have had in your life, nothing beats the feeling when you look at your child knowing you have made a major contribution to the way they’ve turned out. (Also the opposite can be trueï¿½if you’re child has run off the rails, you may have to take a look in the mirror).
If you have kids and you seriously want to have more time with them, then take action today. There are many simple changes you can make that will free up your time.
Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. Kids grow up very quickly. I know from personal experience.. My eldest child turned 21 last week and next year my son goes off to high school. I am so grateful that I have played a major role in their upbringing and regardless of how busy my schedule has been, I have always made my family the highest priority.
You can have more work/life balance if you really want to. All it takes are a few changes to the way you currently operate your life.
Remember, nothing changes, if nothing changes.