It was unfortunate timing when I googled ‘scheduled parent time’. My wife was sat beside me and was a tad surprised, as from marital bliss I was casually looking up how we would share and schedule custody of our kids. I soon put her mind at rest, “I get the bikes and kids, other than during the school run and night time fun and games”. Obviously that went down like a sack of spuds but I soon cleared things up. However, what I am suggesting in this post will probably raise a few eyebrows. Scheduling in specific time to spend time with our kids.
We need to schedule the quality parent time with our kids. This follows on from a post I did a long time ago about presence and being present. There is a growing movement to flexible work conditions and working from home being a part of that. This can run the risk of inviting everything that you could leave at the office being welcomed with open arms in to your home and family space.
To manage our zest for busyness we schedule, list and plan. This step reinforces the points as priorities and protects the time and space to do what you need to do. When you have a meeting or presentation do you check your messages, emails or make a quick call half way through? I imagine not. So, all day we make meetings and are completely present at the time and with the conversation. Could we say hand on heart that we have any such time or commitment to the time we have with our kids. I write this, again in reflection of my own experiences and family time. My son has been asking me for the last couple of days to play fishing on the deck. I haven’t once! I have taken him to the supermarket for the weekly shop, been to the hardware shop to grab some bits and pieces for a DIY project. We have been on our daily runs, where he cycles beside me. He plays with his Siku cars beside me as I am working on the computer (don’t worry, he has at school now). So, as far as I was concerned we were hanging out loads. I wasn’t. My son was in fact tagging along so I could work through my tasks. I’m usually pretty good at being present, but my priorities had slipped. Nothing is more important than my family and I had forgotten that a little bit.
So, try blocking out half an hour or an hour of absolute quality time. That means the phone and computer are off and nobody is set to drop in or distract. It’s scheduled in so you will have managed your time accordingly. Then, see what they want to do and crack on and do it. Tonight me and my eldest are fishing (imaginary) for Marlin off our bikes and I can’t wait! Not only can it be amazing for our kids but also we get to unwind, and heaven forbid play and have a giggle, and all being well catch an epic Marlin too.