By Kartik Bajoria
As parents, it is our constant endeavour that our children receive the best. The most wholesome education, the most fun holidays, the best exposure. However, in our pursuit to provide the best, we sometimes miss out on the one thing that is perhaps the most important–spending quality time with our children. While working hard to ensure the utmost for our children, we forget that what they need the most, is time with us. It is never too late to realise this, and remedy it. And if we can ensure, through some simple yet effective ways, that the time we spend with our sons and daughters is not just plentiful but creative and productive too, the results can be extremely gratifying.
Festivals and holidays are a great time to bond with children. For parents, one can use the occasion as inspiration for themed activities. For instance, during Christmas time, depending on the age of the child, one can indulge in card-making, a fun, creative project that you can do together.
There is absolutely no limit to the creative twists you can give to these holiday activities. If your daughter or son likes to write and has a vivid imagination, partner with them for an entirely original story of Santa Claus. If the child is a bit older, you could make a collage of your family photographs, using your child’s inputs to decorate the frame.
There are any number of skills that you can enhance in your child, from writing, to visual storytelling, to even graphic designing using themes connected with the festival.
Curated vacations and experiences
We take our kids on vacation to exotic places where we eat and shop till we drop. That is excellent. But we can turn these holidays into much more meaningful bonding exercises if we are a little mindful to select places and experiences based on children’s interests. For instance, if your child is interested in history, why not take him or her for a day out to a museum? Sure, your child’s school might be organising such field trips but going with a parent means something altogether more special to a child.
Similarly, if you know that your kids love wildlife, why not ditch that Singapore or Dubai holiday and go instead for a thorough outback vacation to a Forest Reserve where your children will delight and revel in all the flora and fauna they experience, that too along with you. Not only will they enjoy, they will also learn, enhance their knowledge and grow closer to you!
We have spoken about festive activities and vacations. However, even through the course of the year, there are enough and more opportunities for parents to deepen the bond with our children. Especially since we tend to be busy, it makes children feel extremely special if we set aside a fixed time for them. By scheduling dedicated time with kids for dedicated activities, a parent can ensure two things. One, that you spend quality time together on an ongoing, regular basis. And two, each scheduled interaction can be targeted at enhancing a specific interest of the child. So what are these activities that could be pre-scheduled? Of course, depending on your child’s interests, they can be one of many such as:
Book-Reading Night (one night of the week where the parent and child read together.)
Lunch Date (one night a week where you take your child to lunch.)
DIY Day (one day a month where you and your child build something together.)
Office Day (one day a month where your child accompanies you to your office.)
Now is the time to seize the moment. The moment where you spend real, significant, substantial time with your kids. Before long, they would have grown up and gotten too busy with their own lives. What better time to begin, than this Christmas season, a time for loving, sharing and bonding!
(Writer, educator and moderator, Kartik Bajoria holds workshops on creative writing and personality development at various schools.)