The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: What Kids Need Most

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Kids Need Most

Chad Lucas writes a regular column in USA Today.  In the August 8 issue, his headline reads: "What my kids need most is my full attention."  What awesome advice!  In a nutshell, he says that raising four kids, managing a household, and holding a full-time job is a juggling act worthy of any CEO.  However, what's most important is his ability to drop whatever he's doing and concentrate on one child at a time when needed.  The challenge, he adds, is that all four of the children usually want different things at the same time.  That's not an easy job even on the best of days!

He also cautions parents to avoid being a "Blackberry Parent."  On a recent visit to a fast food restaurant, I saw one mother with two young children eating their lunches.  The kids had their smiley meals while mom casually sipped a coffee and texted on her phone.  ACK!  Where's the attention?  Where's the interaction?  Why is she even there with them?  Why not just leave them unattended?  What was she thinking????

Multitasking has become the bane of the modern family.  Families eat while watching TV, kids do homework on the way to soccer practice, we text or talk on the phone while driving (really, folks?), and we listen halfheartedly to a child's account of his day at school while we prepare dinner, fix the toaster, or glance through the paper. 

In some elementary schools, they have a DEAR program - Drop Everything And Read, so the students have an untinerrupted block of time to read what they want to read, not a required passage.  This makes the reading time fun and fosters further reading time at home.  I say parents need to have a DEAL program - Drop Everything and Listen.  Because when you truly listen to your children and look for the underlying motivation or message, you'll get to know them a lot better than if you multitask during "quality" time together.

So, my final words for today are: Give each child your undivided attention at least once every day so they understand that they are the most important person in your life at that moment.  And isn't that what we all want from life?  To feel important to someone else.  Ahhhh.... such a warm, fuzzy feeling :-)  Thanks, Chad Lucas, for being a dedicated dad!

Happy Parenting!

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