Eat. Play. Read. 15 Minutes With Your Child
For the 16 years I’ve been teaching Babysitting CPR classes for youth age 11+, I have always strongly urged the importance of quality time with the children. I tell these young babysitters it will 1) make the children like you – and thus behave better for you and 2) will make you the preferred babysitter – and thus you make more money.
More money. That’s when they giggle and squirm a bit that I’ve identified their “secret” about babysitting – that they want to babysit to make money. It’s rather sweet that they think they should be altruistic about babysitting versus pragmatic. I assure them it’s both. Parents are looking for two things, I tell them: 1) someone kind and 2) trained. Yes, they deserve to be paid for doing the vital thing of keeping dearly loved children safe!
I urge them to PLAY with the children; ask them questions to get conversations going, teach them a song or a dance, make up things to do – be creative. I also urge them to READ to the children and I list for them all the benefits – brain and vocabulary development, emotional soothing, imagination as the plot and characters unfold, and more.
Eat. Play. Read.
So, that’s advice for babysitters, right?
Well, I have come upon a very nice organization that gives similar, gentle information for PARENTS. The site The Family Tree suggests small changes that families might make that can make a big impact.
One of their programs is Eat. Play. Read. Just 15 Minutes a Day.
“The time investment is small, but the benefits of spending as little as 15 minutes a day eating, playing and reading with your family are enormous – starting with more focused, creative and sociable kids.”
You might like to print out this one-page list of suggestions for your refrigerator:
Click above on each each short clip – it’s a boost of inspiration and motivation!
Eat. Play. Read. Print-out examples.
For instance, a one-page sheet gives great suggestions on using “positive discipline”. It’s a helpful nudge, reminder, deep-breath list of information when times get tough.
But wait! Parents do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with “advice” about parenting and “vital information” about parenting?
Gotcha. It can rather make you feel like you “need to do even more” or that you are “falling short” since you don’t do that particular, specific advice in your household…
I recommend reading this article from the Washington Post, “Quality Trumps Quantity”. It addresses the issue of parents feeling they should “spend more time” with their kids. The article asserts that the quality of the time is far, far more important. And to stop feeling guilty!
A hefty chunk of time to be with your children can be very hard to achieve. The article asserts that parents should not expect it – or even try to think in terms of quantity. Rather, quality.
The article is clear support to continue to do, as always, “the best you can”. That’s wonderful right there! It’s the best you can!
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Jean Lesmeister, 16 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor
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