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Time's Up Part 4: Cherishing the Journey With Your Children

Life throws curveballs, but none as impactful as parenthood. In the previous installments of "Time's Up," we explored nurturing connections with family, friendsand partners. Today, we delve into the precious, fleeting time we have with our children.

We all know the saying, "Time flies when you're having fun." But when it comes to raising children, the truth is even more poignant: the "Magic Years" have a way of disappearing before our eyes. We spend years climbing the career ladder, striving for "more," often at the expense of cherishing the moments we can never get back.

Unveiling a powerful truth, the American Time Usage Study paints a picture of the ever-evolving relationship we share with our children. The graph, with age on the bottom axis and time spent together on the vertical axis, reveals a fascinating curve that fluctuates depending on when you begin having children. During our 20s and early 30s, when many individuals start families, the graph typically shows a steep rise as we dedicate significant time to nurturing our young children. This period, a whirlwind of early milestones and foundational moments, is marked by undivided attention and the formation of a deep bond.

However, as children enter their teenage years and the graph takes a natural dip, we witness a shift in how we spend our time together. Their lives become increasingly filled with activities like school, sports, hobbies, and social engagements, leading to this temporary decline in time spent with parents. This dip, though it might bring a pang of longing, doesn't signify a diminishing connection. Instead, it reflects the natural progression of the parent-child relationship as children navigate their independence and establish their own identities. Remember, the graph captures trends, and every family's journey is unique. Regardless of when you become a parent, cherish the moments, embrace the different stages, and nurture the connection with your children – it's a bond that transcends time itself.

Remember, you are your child's entire world for a devastatingly short window. Don't blink. Every giggle, every milestone, every shared story shapes your child and your bond with them. Be present in every moment. Put down the phone, silence the distractions, and truly connect.

If your children are at home, here are some tips how to enhance your quality time together:

Power Down & Tune In: Before spending time with your children, turn off phones, televisions, and other distractions. Be fully present and engaged in the moment.

Embrace the Micro-Moments: You don't need elaborate plans. Seize small opportunities throughout the day to connect: chat during carpool, have a quick conversation while they're doing chores, or share a laugh over dinner.

Turn Chores into Bonding Experiences: Work together on household tasks. Make it fun by playing music, telling stories, or simply chatting while you tackle the chores together.

Play Games Together: It doesn't have to be complex. Board games, card games, or even silly made-up games can create laughter, connection, and memories.

Show Genuine Interest: Ask open-ended questions about their day, their friends, their hobbies, and their worries. Listen attentively and acknowledge their feelings.

Embrace Their Passions: Spend time participating in activities they enjoy, whether it's watching their favorite sport, listening to their music, or attending a club meeting.

Start a Family Ritual: Create a weekly or monthly tradition that you can all look forward to, like a movie night, a family game night, or a special dinner.

Dine Together (Even on Busy Nights): Even if it's just a simple meal, make an effort to have dinner together as a family most nights of the week. Use this time to talk, share stories, and connect.

Celebrate Together: Take time to celebrate their achievements, big and small. A simple acknowledgment of their hard work and accomplishments goes a long way.

Offer Support and Guidance: Be a source of support and guidance for your children. Help them navigate challenges, offer advice when needed, and encourage them to chase their dreams.

Time, however, has a way of evolving. As children grow into independent adults, forging their own paths, the time spent together inevitably changes. This transition can be painful for parents, who may struggle to let go of the constant involvement of earlier years.

But this doesn't mean the connection fades. It simply transforms. Here are some ways to enhance your relationship with your adult children:

  • Embrace Quality Time: Schedule regular calls, visits, or video chats. Make intentional efforts to connect, even if it's just catching up over coffee. Plan activities you both enjoy, whether it's reminiscing about old times, exploring a new hobby together, or simply enjoying each other's company.

  • Practice Active Listening: Give them your undivided attention when they talk. Ask open-ended questions, demonstrate genuine interest in their lives, and validate their feelings.

  • Respect Their Independence: Recognize and respect that they are navigating their own journeys. Avoid being overly critical or giving unsolicited advice.

  • Celebrate Their Milestones: Be their biggest cheerleader, celebrating their successes, big and small. Offer support and encouragement through challenges.

  • Maintain Open Communication: Foster an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, even when you disagree.

Letting go of the constant involvement of younger years can be challenging, but it's a necessary step in the natural evolution of your relationship. Embrace the shift, nurture your connection with love, understanding, and respect, and create new, cherished memories together.

Own the Curve:

If you have young children:

  • Spend 15 minutes each day this week fully present with them. No phones, distractions, or multitasking. Ask questions, listen attentively, and play together. Simply be there.

If your children are older and have their own lives:

  • Create regular check-ins with each other to keep your connection

  • Reflect on how you can be more understanding if they don't have as much free time for you. Remember, their busy lives don't indicate a lack of love or respect.

Remember, parenthood is a journey, not a destination. Embrace every stage, cherish the moments, and build a lasting connection with your children that transcends the passing of time. Remember, quality time isn't about quantity. Even small gestures of connection and engagement can make a significant impact on your relationship with your children.

If you are stuck in your relationships with time and connection with others and you'd like to chat more how to maximize this precious resource, I'm here for you. I also find myself in this tricky situation with adult children and missing my time with them. Visit to schedule your first breakthrough session...FREE!

If you are looking for a community to keep you uplifted, inspired and supported as you find and appreciate the wealth in your life, join Joyful Balance Circle. It's a Facebook group with over 800 like-minded women ready to lift you up.

Here are the links to the previous posts in this blog series in case you missed the previous posts:

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