Forty-one years ago, workers spent an average of 46 hours a week grappling for dollars. Today, the average person works 35 hours weekly, yet many still claim themselves “busy.” Academic demands on the other hand has risen over the years. Today’s children are faced with higher academic standards and asked to solve more complex problems at younger ages than any previous generation.
More than ever, children need the support of their parents to succeed in school and in life. Here are a few tips for busy parents who want to be involved in their children's life:
1. Use a variety of educational tools
Learning apps and videos are an easy way to introduce concepts, but parents should be careful not to overexpose children to screens at a young age. While gadgets are great for being engaging, and their automated nature allow parents to play a less dominant role in teaching. Nevertheless, traditional educational tools such as puzzles and books can be used to supplement digital tools. For parents with more time, shoot for activities that involve maximum interaction between you and your child - this quality time will surely translate to stronger family relationships.
2. Participate at school
Despite being riddled with office work, you should still try to develop relationships with those involved with your children at school, including teachers, counsellors and other parents. Being cognizant of school programs and activities is also in line with Johns Hopkins University professor Joyce Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Involvement, in which she detailed the importance of “collaborating with community.”
Try your best to also make time for parent engagement activities at your children's school. This could include sitting in classes, watching the school plays or cheering on your children as they compete in sports. Getting involved at school helps parents better appreciate the environment their children are being educated in and connect better with them. They may not say it, but children also appreciate their parents being around at their school events!
3. Plan early and stick to your commitments
Feeling busy? Though office work may be burdensome, one should still be able to find some of those golden minutes within a 24-hour timeframe — whether recognizable or not. Laura Vanderkam, the author of I know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, studied several women’s working hours, and what she found was astonishing. Take Amy Mahon, a British lawyer, as an example — although she works 60 hours a week, she still manages to enjoy “family time” during weekdays by working two late nights and going home early on other days. As “busy” as that paperwork may seem, spending the weekend on the beach — and free from work — shouldn’t be taxing.
Our advice? Plan early by marking out times on your calendar in advance. For those with packed calendars, be intentional at scheduling the rest of your activities around family time, rather than trying to fit in family time after the rest of your engagements are decided. Once you make a commitment, try your best to stick to it!