'Prioritise between your phone and child,' says a daycare centre’s sign! Ahem!
The daycare centre is sure about what it expects from the parents of their little patrons. Keep away the phone and look at the child, says their sign!
Working parents are usually hard pressed for time. Most often they carry work home in the form of frequent work-related phone calls. However, if you are going to pick up your child from this daycare centre and you get a phone call, you may as well cancel it because the staff here doesn’t appreciate it much. They feel it’s not okay to be stuck to the phone as your eager beaver waits for that hug from you.
According to this report, the notice put up by the daycare centre has sparked a controversy amongst many, for its strong words. Some parents felt there was a reprimanding and condescending tone to the note. While many do indeed greet (or forget to greet?) their children as they attend to a phone call, it may be a bit too callous to assume that they are deliberately ignoring their child.
It's easy to be judgemental about people, especially if we don't know where they come from or are unaware of the circumstances that have pushed them to act in a certain manner. However, isn't there a grain of truth to the statement that often we neglect spending time with our children for we tell ourselves that a certain chore needs to be done right now, whereas the child can certainly wait?
Think of a role-reversal. Imagine that you've been waiting all day long for your child to come home from work, to have a little heart-to-heart chat. He comes home, speaking on the phone, miming a 'hello' and walking into his room. Wouldn't you be crestfallen? Similarly, in the previous instance, where the child has been waiting for his parent all along, is ecstatic to see him/her at the door. But alas, the parent is attending to an 'important' call. All the child can see is his mum/dad has better, more important things to do. Point to ponder? Yes!
However, it doesn't mean you can't make up for the so-called neglect. How about spending some quality time with the child? How about making sure you MAKE some quality time? Here are some tips for the same:
- Pick out a "chore" you both like doing: I sit with my daughter every day to help her with homework. However, that’s a chore neither of us enjoy but, do it diligently. Does that count as quality time? I think not! Instead, when I enter the kitchen to whip out a quick snack, she saunters in and I have a little elf helping me out with beating the eggs or washing the tomatoes or just being the trustworthy taste-critic. She feels important that I trust her with certain mommy-chores. That’s big.
- Walk-and-talk: Skip the car for distances that you can cover by foot. Take your kid along. Have a heartfelt talk. It need not be about the ways of the universe (unless he brings it up, of course!), it need not be about school. It could be about the neighbour’s dog that you find adorable. Those fifteen minutes of walk to the supermarket, will help your child feel that "my dad/mum isn’t that inaccessible after all". An important feeling that!
- Be there even when you aren’t! That’s not word play. There are days and sometimes weeks when an important project has come up or there has been a medical emergency in the family which needs your time and attention. Take a few moments out to leave behind notes for your children. A piece of paper on his study table that says ‘Thanks for doing the dishes’ or ‘I’m so proud of you, big brother’, just reminds the child that even if you didn’t verbally acknowledge his efforts, you did notice and appreciate it.
Sometimes all children need is someone to listen to them, to be heard, to act silly with! Take those extra moments to spend with your children. When you look back, you will be thankful for the memories.
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