Time is one of the most precious commodities for families in the busy world that we live in.
Children crave human connection and affection, especially from an early developmental stage when communication is translated through expression, physical interaction, verbal and auditory cues. What babies and young children require is uninterrupted time for free play and experimentation with noise, language and the establishment of relationships.
To watch and observe is of great worth to a young mind, so even if you are otherwise occupied, being close by enables the child to feel safe and secure while playing or mimicking the actions and advancing their fine and gross motor skills.
Literacy is an essential component of our modern world and reading is one of the best ways to bond with your child, while learning along the way.
Raymond Shanhun, from Western Australia’s The Fathering Project, had three children under five years old when he was in a new position in a country posting, with no grandparents to help.
“It was a very busy time in my life,” he said.
“However every evening I would lie in bed with each of my kids and read to them (sometimes I would nod off and they would wake me up, demanding more of their story).”
“The Dr Seuss story books were all our favourites. Although I was extremely busy as a young Dad, that literary time with my kids was invaluable for all of us. Now my kids are adults and interestingly, two of my adult children are avid readers.”
Reading time together solidifies the connection with parent and child. Time spent flipping through a book together aids social development and interaction while furthering the child’s intellectual advancement. There is a level of nurturing involved in reading time, as it is often a quiet time, a time to wind down and return to a level of intimacy which renews the child’s sense of wellbeing.
Devoting time to talking and telling stories captures the imagination and interest of young minds. To be able to play with your child and create characters rouses many components of learning within the child and triggers their long term memory storage. Creating meaning for the child is vitally important. When young children delve into realms that matter to them, they are inclined to repeat the process and advance their growth. All of this requires time. Quality time together supersedes all else; quality time in a relaxed setting that facilitates love, learning and lifelong positive relationships.
Reading time is used as one example of benefit for the child. Raymond Shauhun explains how time reading with his young child has carried through and now, as his child has grown into an adult, reading still plays an intrinsic role in their interactions, interests and further learning.
“One of my boys is an electrical engineer and utilises his high level reading skills to scan professional articles. He often sends me interesting articles because we both share an interest in current issues and ideas.”
“This is a wonderful side benefit of reading to him and discussing ideas with him when in his formative years.”
Little things in a young person’s life traverse and entwine to form a big portion of their sense of self. It helps young children to find their place in the world.
Above all else, giving your child your time and effort makes them feel worthwhile. Often it does not matter what the activity is, as long as you are there beside your child, giving them your undivided attention, which is the greatest reward of all. It is valuable to the adult too. Relationships form the glue that bind us all and give our life meaning.
As time trundles on and life gets away from us, time spent together becomes all the more precious. Parents are encouraged to make the most of their children’s early years, because in the blink of an eye, your little treasures grows up so quickly and time continues to zoom on by.