As summer break transitions back into the school routine, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) encourages parents to be engaged in the attention and time given to children by taking a few steps to maximize your time. Being vigilant and intentional in parenting young children promotes effective habits and trust within the family dynamic. One of the most important daily decisions a parent or caregiver can make for their children is a commitment to building strong and well-functioning family relationships. The more time spent with a child, the more meaningful the relationship can become.
“Our lives can often be filled with deadlines and distractions that sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll. “However, we are never too busy to close our laptop, put down our phones, and make time for our children. This precious time spent with them not only validates a parent’s unconditional love and support, but also teaches children important principles they can carry with them throughout their lives.”
There are a variety of simple and easy tools parents can use to become more purposeful, including:
- Engage with your child. Make time to play with them, help with homework, and stimulate their minds. Your presence alone is beneficial to their development.
- Create a safe environment. Talk to your child about strangers, drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and other influencers they may encounter in their lives and how to appropriately react in these situations.
- Establish consistency. Children, like many of us, handle change best if it is expected and becomes part of the context of a familiar routine. Structure and routines teach children how to constructively control themselves and their environment.
- Create and share traditions. Teach your child about their family history. Have a family dinner night at least once a week so your child will know what to expect on this night.
- Provide support. Tell your child how proud you are of him/her. Embrace their uniqueness. Attend school events and extracurricular activities. Teach them trust.
- Screen time can be useful to the parent-child dynamic if utilized properly. Talk to your child about the show or movie you are watching to gauge their reactions, opinions, and thoughts, as well as relate the show to real-life lessons for your child to learn.
Focused parenting provides the foundation from which children grow. Once school begins, remember to ask children how their day at school was, engage in their take-home assignments, and let them know when they have accomplished a task to be proud of. For more information on parenting resources, click here and here.