Find time to parent


I’m sure most parents who work away from home, can relate to the sick feeling when you have to leave your young ones crying for you when you have to go for work in the morning.

Don’t you wish you could be with your young one from dawn to dusk? Children hunger for parents’ time and attention. You only have to notice the anticipation on your child’s face when she greets you in the evening as you come back from work.

American author, philanthropist, millionaire and CEO, Chris Gardner, a former single dad (his life story was told in The Pursuit of Happyness) said in an interview with DRUM Magazine:
‘There are some multimillion dollar-earning parents who give their kids everything but their time. Be there. Ain’t no substitute for time.’

For most people, time is a very rare commodity which has to be utilised carefully, and for parents it can be a challenge to juggle child rearing and other essential activities of life. Some parents are so pressed for time that they leave home early in the morning, before their kids wake up, and return home late at night long after the children have gone to bed.

Why find time to parent?

When you become a parent, you make an implied promise to your child to spend at least 20 years of your life providing materially and emotionally; training and guiding and most of all loving that young one. All this demands a lot of time.

In a world short of time where do you find the quantity time to prepare your child for adulthood?

In the corporate world, workers are encouraged to plan and schedule activities. Prioritising is encouraged because it helps the employee to accomplish the more important things first.

Parents also have to schedule time to be with their children on a daily basis. Some parents who are short of time have adopted the motto ‘where ever I am, my child is there.’

Of course children can’t be with a parent at work but there are many other opportunities where an otherwise busy parent can spend time with a child.

Preparing a meal with your child is an excellent way of spending time with your child and finding out what is happening in the child’s world. Eat around the table together.

Instead of hitting the gym by yourself, why not look out for activities that can include your children, such as walking or cycling?

Something has to go. A parent may have to sacrifice some of the personal pleasures that were enjoyed during the childless days. For example, Daddy may have to cut on the time spent on the golf course with buddies and be more available to the kids. A cut in television viewing may give a parent more time to read to a child.

Why all the fuss? Child experts have long concluded that children who spend a lot of time with their parents are least likely to be involved in high risk behaviour such as drug taking and alcohol abuse. It has also been discovered that such children are least likely to engage in different forms of violence, or have suicidal thoughts or suffer from stress.

Time spent with your child is time well invested.

How much time do you spend with your kids on the average day?

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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