As parents, our children’s happiness ranks pretty high on the priority list, right by things like health, a bright future and education. But when you’re busy with life and working, you may find yourself worrying about the effects that has on your kids and their state of mind, and you’re not wrong to do so.
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According to Healthy Children, while having two working parents eases financial strain, it can lead to burnout when it comes to balancing life and work. Luckily, you can take some easy steps to reduce the effect of your busy life on your kids, help you feel less guilty about it, and make your children’s lives better. Try the following six hints for happier kids and a more positive household!
1. Be Happy Yourself
It’s not the easiest thing to do, to put on a happy face when you get home after a long, hard day at work and you’re exhausted. You may be tempted to put off engaging with your children until later, after you’ve relaxed, but that will dim their enthusiasm.
Put on a smile and be enthusiastic even if you’re not really feeling it inside when your kids rush to tell you about their day. It will make both you and your kids feel better, and you’ll find yourself enjoying it no matter what your mood was when you first got home.
2. Share Your Child’s Concerns
Always make yourself available to talk to your child about his or her concerns with patience and genuine attention. While a bad day at school may not seem like much to you given your maturity, to your child, it’s everything.
If you don’t take your child’s feelings seriously at this stage, your child may hide them from you when they get older. Your child needs to be able to share emotions with you as they age for both your sakes, so it’s important to reinforce that bond early.
3. Make Family Time
Even some of the busiest households manage to find an empty spot in the schedule for family time, and you can too! Spending time together as a family cements bonds and gives everyone an opportunity to breathe a little.
Make sure you get a little family time in each week, even if you have to do some creative thinking. For example, on a particularly busy week, you can take your children grocery shopping with you and make a little game out of it. This way, you’re getting the necessary task of shopping done while spending some time with your kids. Ask your children for suggestions if you’re not sure what to do!
4. Start Family Meetings
Regular family meetings can keep a household running smoothly. During the meeting, you can do things like assign chores, address ongoing problems and let your children have some input on household rules. Your kids are more likely to follow rules they had a hand in creating, and you can avoid some stress and confusion during the week.
5. Be A Good Listener
Your children look up to you and want your attention. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it can be demanding at times. Remember that your children love interacting with you, and for you to give them the full measure of that experience, you need to be a good and patient listener.
Let them talk about their favorite things and day, and be sure to show an interest and ask questions that reflect it. By showing you’re interested in them as people, your children will learn to be honest with and trust you even more than they do now.
6. Set The Right Example
Practice what you preach is a time-honored phrase for good reason. Your children learn from you, and if you’re saying one thing and doing another, you’re setting a confusing and frustrating example. Be consistent in what you say and do so your children have a clear path to follow.
If you feel guilty about how much time you spend at work, you can lose some of that guilt by allowing your children a peek into your work life. Working hard to provide for your family and be responsible isn’t a bad thing, so discuss your work and what it means for the family with your children.
You’ll be setting a great example for your children to follow later in life, and you just might be surprised at how much they can understand and appreciate what you do for them.