Everyday job of parenting makes huge impact

Everyday job of parenting makes huge impact










By Steve Ortiz of United Way

Welcome to Building Better Futures Together, a monthly column in which we share resources to help families support each other.

With Father’s Day coming up and Mother’s Day still fresh in our minds, we hope all Santa Barbara parents are using these special holidays to spend time with their children.

Being a parent is a wonderful blessing but also an important and occasionally difficult job. At United Way, we work with our community partners to provide families a variety of educational programs to help both children and parents bond, grow, and build better futures.

As a dad of two young children, I know that it often feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to manage your everyday responsibilities and have enough quality time to bond with your children. However, parents are the first role models for their children, and both mom and dad have a big responsibility to show children that they are loved and important.

Here are a few ideas that don’t require much time to make a big difference as a mother or a father in your child’s life.

– Read together, even for just 15 to 20 minutes a day. If your children are young enough, read to or with them. If they are older, choose a book, an article, or other reading material to read separately and talk about it.

– Compliment your child and celebrate his or her accomplishments. It takes less than five minutes to celebrate something positive that your child did that day, and almost anything can be celebrated.

– Create special one-on-one rituals with your child and set aside time for them each week. Turn a mutually enjoyed activity into a parent-child tradition, like weekly breakfast together or trips to the library.

– Play games! Of course, we all know little ones love to play, but so do older children. Pick games with your children that are age-appropriate, whether that’s peek-a-boo, hide and seek, board games, or card games — and play. It might even bring back some memories of being their age that you can share

– Hug your children and show affection (even if they’re teenagers and think they’re too cool for it.). In less than 30 seconds, a hug can make a big difference in both your child’s and your day. It says a lot to your child without using any words.

Everyday life is a learning experience for children. Take time to explore ways to turn these everyday moments into fun learning opportunities.