Rediscover your kids this summer!
Summer is here once again, bringing with it a wealth of opportunities to strengthen our family relationships. During the school year our kids spend most of their waking hours at nursery or school, away from us. Although we have carefully chosen the environment in which we leave them every day, it is nevertheless not our environment and we personally are not able to add to their lives and to their development in those hours. We are not able to interact with them, influence their way of thinking or watch them play and learn. Although many of us will have similar circumstances during the summer, possibly having to send our kids off to summer school or to their grandparents while we are at work, even a short family vacation if used well, can reap enormous rewards. A week at the beach can be a chance to really get to know our kids and to engage in valuable conversations. After all, how much do we really know about our kids? A few days ago, we are were out for lunch with some friends and they initiated a game, for which I thank them dearly, that revolved around asking my husband and I questions about our kids’ likes and dislikes and seeing if we could get the answers right. They of course were getting all the right answers in advance from our kids themselves. I could not believe it when I began to realize how little I really know about my kids. Even seemingly simple things like their favorite food, color, holiday destination, animal or sport, I found difficult to answer quickly and confidently (partly of course because I wanted to think carefully and make sure of my answer first, so that I don’t come across as not knowing my kids at all, in front of my best friends!) Needless to say, I failed miserably at this test. But I am really glad to have realized this now, and hope to use this as a motivation to spend more quality time with my kids this summer. More often that not, we tend to be content with sending our kids off to play with some friends at the pool, beach or playground while we watch from a distance. It gives us much needed free time and they certainly seem to be having fun. However, if we are not careful, the summer will come and go and we will have made very little progress in our journey of rediscovering our kids, and what a waste of precious time that would be.
Originally published in the “Editor’s Letter” of the July/August 2005 issue of Mother & Child magazine