HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
December 4, 2006, Herald Journal

Kids need more attention

By JENNIFER GALLUS

In our busy lives, we worry so much about our schedules that we sometimes forget to take time out for ourselves or our children.

It’s obvious that for some reason we’ve evolved into a society that puts more on its plate than ever before.

Obviously, the more tasks we involve ourselves with, the less time we have for other things – usually basic things like sitting down for a family meal.

Children today are missing out on basic building blocks to healthy family life. Instead of good, old family games like cards or board games, children are hidden away in corners playing hand-held video games or swallowed up by a computer.

It keeps the child busy and quiet, and out of the busy parents’ way. However, I don’t think parents realize what golden moments are being passed up.

We do need some down time each day. A time to decompress from the day’s activities and relax. Both children and adults need this time to recharge.

The problem comes in where the down-time activity, like watching television or playing on the computer, turns into the only activity for parents or children until it’s time for bed.

The day starts anew, the same type of day plays out, and what kind of quality of life is enjoyed?

Language and content is getting out of hand on TV these days, not to mention video games.

The rude language and images that override today’s media will ultimately create a rude society.

That’s where parents come in. It is the parents’ job to recognize that most of the programming on TV these days is not suitable for children under the age of 12.

Families need to turn off the TV and do something together. What kind of memories would you like your children to have? That will guide your plans for family activities.

Families need to reconnect. They need to stop allowing their children’s extra-curricular, programs and the like, to run their lives.

We all want the best for our children, and want to give them any kind of advantage we can, but we shouldn’t allow that to get in the way of a healthy home life.

This holiday season, take some time out for yourself and for your children. It will make for a much merrier holiday season, and will give your children something much better than any kind of present you could buy.

Let the kids help with the holiday baking and decorating. Yes, it takes more time, and is messier, but children want to help. They want to feel needed, and they take great pride in anything they are asked to help with.

We let our children decorate the Christmas tree. The bottom third has ornaments in clumps, here and there, where they could reach. I suggested to the kids that maybe they should space the ornaments out a little more, but they thought it looked great as is.

I didn’t pursue the subject. They’re only young once, why not let them take pride in their work? If I were to rearrange their work, what message would I be sending?

I’m not suggesting that kids should run the show. There is plenty of that going on these days also, but I’m not touching that subject, for now.

Kid-isms

When Joe was five, he said he wanted to floss his teeth before he brushed, “to make sure there were no bad things in there like sticker bushes, teeth sticker bushes, or weeds,” he said.