How to Be a More Engaged Parent [Guest Post]

This is a guest post from Kay Elizabeth Carter. Check out her website for more tips on a variety of topics from health to family.

It can be hard to give your child your full attention while completing everyday chores like driving, paying bills, and cooking. It can be even more challenging when you work a full-time job and barely get to see your child during the week. If you want to be more intentional with your child, here are a few ways to be more engaged.

Share Hobbies with Your Kids

Moms, dads, and kids all benefit from pursuing their own activities. That being said, parents should expose their children to hobbies and activities that can be enjoyed as a family. Pursue parent/child activities where the child shows interest and potential. Some common sports to expose your younger kids to are T-ball and soccer. If you’re not ready to enroll your kids in a team sport yet, try taking them to a minor league game to see if the sport will hold their interest.

Another hobby that children can easily participate in with their parents is learninghow to plant a garden. Starting a backyard garden is inexpensive, and it offers an easy way to help your children take on more responsibility at home. The best part of a home garden is sharing the fruits or vegetables of your labor as a family.

Hobbies are a great way to share an interest with your child, fulfill your own desires for time working on a hobby you enjoy, and a casual way to have great conversation with children about their day or other happenings in their lives. We love to garden together, paint, or even my boys love to pull my crochet yarn for me sometimes!

– Kate

Start a Family Night

Juggling appointments, practices, dinner, and work shouldn’t stop you from spending time with your family each week. According toHouse Method, consider picking one night a week to spend time together as a family. Have a designated dinner where each member takes turns selecting their favorite meal or opt for a family game or craft night. Even an after dinner walk, puppet show, or woodworking in the garage can be great ways to connect with your children. Whatever you decide, make it a rule that everyone puts away their computers, phones, and other distractions.

I love the idea of a Family Night. We’ve discussed it many times before, but things always get in the way as our schedule changes every semester. I’d like to try to get something of this nature in place to kick off our summer ahead!

– Kate

Talk with Your Kids

The American College of Pediatricians encourages parents to talk to babies as much as possible to help stimulate language growth and understanding. Babies and toddlers may need to hear words hundreds of times before they understand their meaning. Daily reading and story time is another great way tobond with your kids and continue to expose them to more language.

Once you can hold a conversation with your little ones, make sure to keep talking with them, even about difficult topics and current events. Engaged parents who are proactive about discussing a breadth of current events will help shape their child’s view of the world and encourage their kids to keep open lines of communication.

Set Guidelines

Parents should set boundaries for their kids and stick to them. Mealtimes, rules, allowances, and discipline are key parentingareas to reinforce on a daily basis. When your child is not eating their dinner, you should continuously hold off on giving them dessert instead of bending the rules and feeding them ice cream. Children with steady rules act out less than children without these features in place.

A lot of parents, working or stay-at-home struggle with finding ways to be more engaged in the moment when life calls us constantly. Thank you Kay for sharing ideas to keep us more involved in our daily work as parents! Make sure to check out her website, too!

– Kate