Time is an interesting topic. It can be as simple, or as complex, as a person wants it to be. I’ve dreamed of the future and thought of the past. I’ve read stories and told tales that involve bending time laws. Time is so important to so many aspects of our lives. But it’s most important to our children.
Today Ryan and I brought our kiddos to the playground. We both played with them. We invested time focused on our children. Later their Aunty and cousins joined the kiddos and I at a greenhouse picking out plants. Yes, I was buying things for me, but the time was spent with them. They each chose a plant or seeds for our garden. While visiting at their Aunty’s house, I wanted to sit and chat, but Agatha wanted to play catch.
We played catch while chatting. Our attention was still mostly focused on adults, but the time was Agatha’s.
At bedtime, I cuddled between Brom and Cordelia while I read to them. Then I stayed cuddled with them until they fell asleep. I could’ve gotten up, neither would’ve likely protested. But I know right now they both need extra love. Giving them my time means more to them than I’d get from the 15 minutes I might have saved if I’d walked out of the room before they were asleep.
I then had another choice, let Ella and Agatha stay up and spend time with them, or send them to bed with the younger two. I chose to let the girls stay up. They played WOW, I offered advice when they wanted, read quests, laughed with them, and made some cool discoveries.
Ella went to bed, just Agatha and I were up. She needed a little bit more. I cuddled her while we talked and planned the next few days. We looked at Pinterest for inspiration for her to make a gift for her cousin. She asked if she could cuddle in my bed tonight. I expressed that I wanted to have a bit more room to sleep than I normally get if she’s in there too (with Brom and Cordelia as well). She came up with a plan. I agreed.
Spending time, investing time, giving time. In exchange for time our children give us love. Sometimes it isn’t easy to want to use our time on someone else, especially when parents spend so little time on themselves to begin with. But I find the trade is in favour of the parents. Children really require so little time when it’s given frequently, but it can be easy to lose sight of that.
A few months ago our children were so starved for time and attention that nothing was good enough. They always needed one more story, one more hug, one more favour. It was exhausting and frustrating. We never had enough for all of them, let alone enough for them and us. Changing that required a lot of conscious effort on our parts. Walking away from chores to sit and read a story. Playing super heroes for hours on end. Going outside and joining our children in their games even when we have things we’d like to do. Especially when we have things we’d like to do.
Things have improved in our family, but we still have room to be better. Cordelia especially needs more time, attention, love right now. Her world is still on shaky ground and until her love cup over flows she won’t be able to cope with even minor setbacks.
I’ve been looking for inspiration on ways to spend time with my children. I want to step outside the box we’ve created and really make these moments count! I’d love to hear any ideas you have especially for the young schooled child.