In this busy world of drop-offs, weekend sports, late night homework and a hundred and one other tasks, many parents look forward to a break from the busy term-time routine to connect with their kids, yet taking the time to connect is often a challenge, and school holidays can often end up as a disappointing -disconnect', say experts.
'We live in the age of -connection' yet many parents feel disconnected from their kids because they are time-poor and school holidays give them a chance to complete other tasks. All too quickly the holidays draw to a close and we haven't achieved what we had intended, leaving both children and parents unfulfilled," says Nicole Pierotti, psychologist.
Nicole says that rather than making grand plans to go on a round of excursions, movies and trips, to plan some -down-time' that allows parents and kids to spend time connecting on real terms.
'Connecting is just about spending meaningful time together. The time where you really listen or just be together without jumping up to flip the dinner, feed the cat or hang out the washing," says Nicole.
Nicole says that just ten to fifteen minutes is all we need to connect with our kids.
'That connected fifteen minutes will be the fifteen minutes that they will remember about their day. They won't remember the washing, the meals, the tidying but they will remember you sitting down with them and gazing at them and really listening to what they are saying, making or sharing. Even if you have to work this school holidays and they need to go to vacation care, you can still connect with your children at the end of the day and spend some meaningful time together," says Nicole.
Here are Nicole's top tips to connect with your child this school holidays:
1. Simply sit together and draw. Whether it be scribbles for two year olds, shapes for three year olds, tracing for 4 year old and colouring in for school kids.
2. Grab the play doh, add a placemat and get busy having fun. Try asking your child what it is they want to make and let them take the lead.
3. Take in some fresh air and play outside: find a ball and kick, throw, bounce and catch, kids of any age love this time.
4.Pick up a bucket of chalk and find a piece of concrete or pavers and draw. What to draw? It can be a road to ride their bike on, a shop, their name to trace over, or a picture of them.
5.You can make car travel your connecting time, spot words on signs, letters on number plates, brands on cars.
Nicole says that if parents are short on ideas, then grab some inspiration on line:
'Pilot Pen has some great craft ideas parents can download - grab some Frixion Colors and have fun rubbing out and starting again!"
Nicole Pierotti is a child psychologist and parenting expert. She runs her own clinic -Baby Smiles' based in Queensland. For further information, visit: www.babysmiles.com.au.
For further information about Frixion Colors and some fun craft ideas, visit: www.pilotpen.com.au.