I know it’s good for kids if parents spend a lot of time with them and participate in their activities. I try to, but find I’m not able to complete all my household tasks too. How do I create a balance? – Jack

14-croppedI understand it can be really difficult to find a good balance between a parent’s day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, and ensuring your child gets the love, care, and attention that they need for their development. It’s hard to juggle it all and know where to draw the line.

Children need to know that their caregivers are safe, secure, and responsive to them. This helps develop a secure attachment and a confidence to explore their world. This process begins at birth and is nurtured over the years through parents consistently responding to their child’s needs. Once this strong foundation is built, children will begin to feel safe enough to engage and explore their world independently. Your child will come back to you for safety and familiarity, as you are their safe base. By observing your child’s behaviours you will be able to see whether they need more or less time spent with you. If your child is showing some negative attention-seeking behaviours, he or she may be telling you they need more of your support or assistance. Try doing “time-in” with your child in these instances by spending some quality time together. Many parents report that when they start dedicating half an hour of undivided nurturing time per day to spend with their child, they see the negative behaviours reduce significantly, and it actually frees up more time in the day where children are able to manage themselves successfully.

It is important for you to feel balanced and calm in your day to day life, as it’s difficult to care for others when you are not meeting your own needs first.

You mentioned that it’s good if parents spend as much time as possible with their children – while children need your attention more at some times than others, it is also important for children to learn how to manage unstructured, independent play. Children need to practice and hone their problem solving and emotional skills on their own in order to be successful in the world. A suggestion could be to create a predictable routine where you set aside a block of time for independent or peer play for your child, and that time is yours to complete some priority household tasks. This way both of your needs are met at the same time. It is important for you to feel balanced and calm in your day to day life, as it’s difficult to care for others when you are not meeting your own needs first.

By being proactive and creating structure around both nurturing time and independent time with your child, you should start to feel some balance to your day.

– Amber, CTH Program Coordinator

Do you have parenting questions for our staff? Send them to us at jmelnychuk@closertohome.com and you may be featured on our blog or in our next newsletter!