“My husband and I have a large family and we’re always pulled in so many different directions that we rarely ever get any one on one time with our children, and it’s really starting to show…”
Many parents feel as though they are being pulled in too many directions and never seem to have enough time to invest in the things that matter most to them.
Whether consumed by careers, extracurricular activities, volunteer obligations, or a combination of various things, there never seems to be enough time in the day. As a result more often than not children lack the much needed individual attention they crave.
All too often I hear these same struggles from the families I work with, and being the father of 6 children I have wrestled with this many times myself over the years. One of the most difficult challenges busy parents faces is coming up with ways to involve their children in his/her daily activities. It can often be overwhelming to even begin to think of ways to make this a reality.
A concept I have found helpful time and time again, my wife and I have dubbed “The Servant Day”.
The core of this idea is to pick one day a week for a child to act as the “servant” of the household. Throughout this particular day the child is given the responsibility of working alongside a parent doing various household chores, like helping to cook a meal, setting the dining room table, etc. This doesn’t have to be something well defined or drawn out. Simply working alongside each other on a consistent basis can be extremely impacting. Additionally, figuring out little responsibility perks, like getting to choose what you’re going to cook, or choosing where everyone sits at the table, can have a tremendous impact on a child.
A simple idea like this has the potential to meet a variety of needs including:
- Focused attention with one child
- Giving your child a sense of responsibility
- Pride that he/she has been able to contribute to the needs of the family
- Accomplishment and a self-esteem boost
- A simple opportunity to connect with each other
Give it a try for a few weeks and see how your children respond!
Nick Hersey, LAMFT, LAPC
nhersey @ GROWcounseling.com
Photo Cred: Emran Kassim