When we sacrifice our time for our children, we are sending them the message that they are important to us. Of course we do have to make a living and we can’t always volunteer for every school activity that comes along.
Some jobs are more flexible than others so getting away may not be an option, but getting away from your responsibilities as a parent is a worst option.
We need to be careful not to let work or other duties continually take precedence over our children because this sends our children the message that they are not very important to us.
We should not let our children develop a stronger bond with TV and video games than with us - their parents. We should know and remember that too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family.
We ought to be supportive and interested listeners to our children and help them to understand that they are the most precious gift that God has given to us.
We are at the beginning of the first term of 2010 school year, it is a very short term of this academic year, and 15 days are already over. We are left with no more than seven weeks of the term!
Some parents might think it is long enough to catch up; I say “NO”. It is now an opportune time for parents to assist their children work towards a successful life. It is a time to compliment or encourage your child on areas of strength exhibited, be it in a class or home works, and also suggest possible ways of overcoming the areas of weakness; you will be most likely surprised by the dramatic improvement later at the end of the term if you get involved, our children draw a lot from our parental support.
They find acknowledgement for their hard work from us a motivating force, inspiring them to move to greater heights in their different areas of interest.
Both parents (if they are present) should plan and play a significant role in raising their children; it is out of fashion to think that women are the only responsible for the upbringing of children.
We shall be our child’s first source of information. Encouraging them to ask questions early makes it easier for them to ask questions when they are older. By answering questions from our child with honesty and openness, you can create a relationship of mutual trust and respect that can prevent your child from developing unsafe habits or taking unnecessary risks.
Another piece of advice for parents; take time to look in your children’s school bag. They might have lost their textbooks or notebooks, they might have taken others belongings, and you will help them to return all that do not belong to them back to the owner or to the class teacher.
Of course you will be able to notice all these things only if you get time for your kids and increase your parental contact time with them.
Indeed, research reveals that children tend to be more successful as a result of increased parental involvement in their lives. In return, parents are rewarded for the care, and you celebrate together.
Our children need our love, they need our support and they need our time. I hope we can always bless our children with these three precious gifts to build our country on a strong foundation of responsible citizens.
The author is Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion