Author: Joseph Browns
Published: Jul 5 2006?Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.? -Josh Billings If parents want to be able to make best use of time with their children, then it is crucial for a parent to start becoming alert to the state that their children are in. Tired? Satisfied? Bored? His shoe hurts him? She has a stomachache from the spaghetti? And so on....This applies particularly during the time that children are playing with toys. They want to be happy. And you want them to be happy too.. Here?s one way of looking at it: it?s a bit like dealing with a baby. Your baby cries. So you figure, usually and probably it?s one of four things. One, the baby is hungry. Two, the baby needs a diaper change.Three, the baby is tired. Or four, the baby wants to be held. You would probably test each of these out to see if the baby will stop crying. What?s happening here is a continual process of trying to figure out and be sensitive to the the baby?s needs. Right? So we are dealing with a sensitivity to the child, and a willingness to experiment to find out exactly what the baby needs. Once the thing is done (for example, changed a dirty diaper and put on a clean one) and the baby stops crying, and is now smiling and gurgling, you think: ?Bingo! I did the right thing there!?. So the checklist is a key to a parent?s success, because it provides the parent with the various possibilities of dealing with a baby?s (or child?s) needs. As babies turn into toddlers who turn into pre-schoolers who turn into kids (and so on), their needs naturally get more sophisticated. In order to keep up with their kids, parents need to increase their checklist. Not only that, but to change the checklist as the kids grow, as some needs get taken off the list and others get put on. So it helps to start off with this idea of a checklist for each of your children. It can be simply a mental checklist. For those who are more organized, they can write it down. An example of a checklist for a 6 year old can be: - Parents - Food - Friends - Clothes - Sleep/Fatigue - Homework - Entertainment - Siblings & Family (relationships) For each of these items you can ask yourself- is my child happy and fulfilled in these areas? What areas does the child need help in? It would be difficult for them to be having fun playing if they have problems elsewhere. In dealing with each of these items, here?s an example of dealing with a checklist item: Energy Levels/Fatigue: Let?s take a closer look at this. Children naturally have routines during the day. Wake-up, get dressed, breakfast, school, after-school activities, suppertime, homework, evening snack, bedtime. Yet you cannot expect children to have the same energy level in the afternoon after a long day of school/play as they would have in the morning when they are fresh from a full night of sleep. Many experienced parents know that when children are tired, especially little children, they just do not function as well in being able to do activities, in listening to their parents, or even at times to behave normally (!!). So this is a good item for the checklist: How tired is your child? ?I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.? John Burroughs For parents, the same can apply for the time spent with their children! Parents who want to get the most out of being able to build relationships with their children should consider (as difficult as it is) to schedule their day around the times that children have high energy levels. An example of a good time to be with the children is after supper. Often children are well-fed, and the time spent sitting at the dinner table allows them to recharge their batteries. They are refreshed and well-fed and ready for some evening activity. The time that is well-spent with children is like depositing a lot of value into a bank account of love and trust with your child. And what could be more valuable than that? ?Life is half spent before we know what it is.? George Herbert
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