Former teacher and parenting coach Erin Kurt has compiled a list with advice for parents about what children really want them to do together. Cape Town psychologist Robyn Jacobs agrees. “During quality time you must put any distractions to one side and focus on your child.”
1. Tuck me up in bed at night, say goodnight and sing me a song. Or tell me stories about when you were little. “A bedtime ritual during which you say goodnight to your child not only makes him feel special; it also improves his sleeping pattern,” Jacobs says.
2. Give me lots of hugs and kisses.
3. Spend time with me on my own without my brothers and sisters being around.Jacobs says spending 15 minutes alone with each child a day will reinforce the bond between you. “Tell your child she can choose how she’d like to spend your time together – and then stick to it. Children love it when you enter their world because it shows them you’re interested in things that are important to them.”
4. Give me nourishing food so I can be strong and healthy. “Children understand how important healthy eating habits are,” Jacobs says. She suggests you and your children have meals together and chat about your day and what you did – doing this creates happy memories for you and your child.
5. In the evenings chat about what we can do together over weekends. “This kind of family tradition is the cornerstone of a happy relationship. Routine makes children feel safe and cherished.”
6. Chat to me about anything, from school to love and my family. “Children enjoy it when you chat to them and involve them in conversations. It makes them realise you value them.”
7. Let me play outside often.
8. Snuggle up with me in front of the TV while watching our favourite TV programme.
9. Discipline me. It shows you really care.
10. Leave me special messages in my lunchbox. “It makes your child realise you’re thinking of him, even when you’re not together,” Jacobs says.
Jacobs’ top three mother-and-child activities:
1.Play with me and take part in my activities.
2.Switch off the TV and eat with me, ask me questions and share your stories with me.
3.Make time just for me without anyone else from the family barging in.