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It’s just about time to update this picture, isn’t it?
I have always done this photo of me and my gang on the bed, hanging out. It is always staged, and I think everyone knows that. What you may not realize is why this “on the bed” image is so important to me.
What Do You Mean “Waste Time”?
It’s a reminder for me to slow down and “waste” time with my kids.
Wasting time with my kids just means doing nothing together. Just letting whatever happen happen and not worrying about making it the MOST memorable time of our lives. It’s also not a time to worry about to do lists, pressing ideas, problems in the back of your head, etc. I expect you catch my drift.
It’s a very large struggle for me to let important matters lie and take this time away from everything I feel I have to get completed in such a small matter of time. The thing of it really is my children are more important to me than anything else I have to do during the day and they’re also “mine” for such a small matter of time. Why is it that I don’t literally take a larger opportunity to do this? I honestly don’t know.
Why Should I be Wasting Time With Our Children?
When I sit quietly and observe our children, do you know what I see? Can you imagine all the glorious things I learn about them? I see WHO they really are, or who they really want to be. I get to view their perspective on life and the things surrounding them. God usually shines through them and I get to reap the fruits of my labor… because parenting has been the hardest work I’ve known next to marriage. I witness their relationships for one another and I get to dream about their future together.
It may sound all rosy and cozy and sweet, but sometimes there are arguments during this time, or even wails and tears too, but that’s not a bad thing. When this happens during your “wasting” time, then slow your response and teach. Slowly talk to your kids about how to handle the situation appropriately. These are great teachable moments that also have lasting impressions on the children.
Do You Know How Your Child “Works” or Thinks?
In wasting time with my kids I have learned more about our strong willed child. I now know he truly doesn’t understand when things aren’t fair and we’re actively working on that. Our oldest who has been so easy has apparently hidden her struggles from us because she’s a people pleaser. Because we’ve slowed down together she’s been able to communicate with me some problems such as, “You never listen” and I’ve been able to detect she’s upset she’s always asked to be the helper when there are others fully capable.
Now if you’re like me, I tend to choose too many words during my teachable moments and I’m fairly sure the kids have stopped listening. Don’t worry about it, just finish what you were saying and then sit back and watch. Your child may have heard you loud and clear, or if they didn’t they’ll most likely be put in the position once more to hear what you have to say. When that happens, you’ll get your chance to say it better.
If you’re “wasting” time with your children, you’ll eventually know HOW to talk to your kids better. Your children will see you CALM more often (if you can keep it together, and no one knows how hard that is more than me, but I know you can do it). Ultimately your relationship as a family starts growing in the right direction, your movements in and out of the home begin to sync a little, and you feel good about taking the time to show your children how much they mean to you.
This is also considered being intentional. Every interaction you have with another person presents an action, but you choose if you are going to react or be proactive. (I read an incredible book that talks about this within the family, you can find it here on Amazon.) Being proactive is best practice, and the more time you waste with your children, the easier this becomes. A simple smile in the direction of your child can jumpstart proactivity. Every child, heck every person, wants to see someone else’s eyes light up when they enter the room, especially our children.
Ready to Get Started Wasting Time Now?
I don’t feel anyone will argue that now is the right time to start this practice of wasting time with your children. When you’re stuck indoors with your family for extended periods of time then you need to combat the monotonous days with SOMETHING. If you don’t, then you’ll get burned out and that makes things worse, right?
Consider this idea as necessary as it would be to treat your child’s illness. They don’t always say what they need. Sometimes they don’t even know what they need which is why we see them acting out or shutting down, or just plain moody.
Why Did We Want Children in the First Place?
When you were younger and dreaming of your time with your kids, what exactly were you dreaming about? I could bet millions it was a vision of you wasting time with your children, and I’d probably make bank. Listen, parenting is exhausting and excruciatingly tough, so slow it down. “Go With The Flow.” “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
I’m not saying you’re doing things wrong. You’re a great parent and you KNOW that. Aren’t you the one on Google searching something to aide your child? You’re on Pinterest trying to make their days more fun, right? Then you’re doing things right. I’m just asking you to think about one more THING. A THING that doesn’t add you extra stress, a THING that requires you to be still and listen, and a THING that will most likely bring your pure JOY.
How will you “waste” time with your children today?