Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Giving Our Kids Our Best

I teach. That's my job. Yes, I'm fortunate to get all my weekends and vacations off and I'm glad I do, but that's not why I do it. Ask most teachers and they will tell you they teach because they love their job. They couldn't do it otherwise. As my teaching career has progressed I've found it taking more and more energy. It could be that I'm a little older than I was when I started, but the more likely reason (from my own observations) is that the kids I'm seeing need more from us. I have kids who come to school hungry, who have worn out shoes and too small clothes. I had a student last year during the coldest part of winter tell me how lucky I was that I had heat in my classroom because they had no heat in their home. I know it's sad. It's very sad. And it's very draining.
Lately, I've been wondering if I'm giving my very best to my kids at school and less and less of my best to my own kids at home. It's a tough one. I'm a working mom. I want to give my best in both places. Both places deserve my very best, but how? How when you have a high energy job can you come home at the end of the day and still be fresh? Also knowing you have house things to do? Dinner. Laundry. Homework. Baths. Swimming lessons. How can you be your best and have quality time and make sure your own kids are happy? I'm really conscientious of this right now. Because of that I know I'm not getting it, but I can start taking steps to 'get it'.
Here are some things I'm trying to make better time for my kids and with my kids:
1. Game Time - my oldest son and I have started playing games like Memory and Go Fish. My youngest isn't ready for these games yet, but likes games like hide and go seek and pop bottle bowling
2. Bedtime routine extentions - Instead of rushing through brushing teeth and cleaning up to pop the kids into bed, I'm starting bedtime earlier. It gives us more story time, prayer time and talk time. I picked this one up from my own mom. Both my brother and I have fond memories of talk time before bed each night.
3. Taking my kids out for 'dates' - just one kid at a time. It can be as simple as going down to Tim Hortons to share a hot chocolate or taking a walk around the neighbourhood. They know that all my attention is on them when we are on our 'dates'.
4. Family Day Saturdays - unfortunately, this one we can't always do as my husband's work schedule causes him to work some weekends, but most Saturdays are days we set aside to be with each other. We go hiking or to the beach in the summer, now that's it's fall we can still do outings, they are just a little different. This past weekend we went to the farmer's market and the apple orchard to go apple picking.
5. Having the kids give me a hand where I need it. Both my kids like to help in the kitchen so why not give them a chance to help make cookies or stir up some juice?
I know these are just little things and I have a ways to go. What ideas do you have to make the most of your time with your kids?

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