• Play better than expensive lessons
  • Basics count like sleep and eating together
  • Kids need one-on-one with their parents


    SIMPLE quality time is the key to a happy family and parents who over schedule their children's lives are missing out.


They're the words of an international parenting expert who yesterday spoke at a conference in Brisbane.

of Ottawa psychology professor Catherine Lee said decades of research
had repeatedly shown the benefit of quality time.

"I think we've
got a bit intimidated so that we think that the expensive lessons or
the expensive activities or the things that we enrol kids in are
somehow more valuable," keynote speaker Prof Lee yesterday told the
delegates of the international parenting conference at the University
of Queensland.

"Sometimes they might just want to play Lego with
you, or throw a ball around or do something silly and that can be just
as important, if not more important, as the lessons and the clubs and
the activity.

"If we don't have the basics, like enough sleep, if they're not
spending time on those simple meals together, then I think we're
missing something.

"We know what kids need. Kids need one-on-one
with parents and they also need down-time, they need unstructured time
and they need to be able to deal with boredom.

"If you ask kids
to think about a happy Christmas, they usually won't think about what
they were given at that Christmas, it will be what they were doing and
it's the time that is the important thing."

Prof Lee said more research was needed on the changing role of fathers and its impact on family dynamics.

when we talk about parenting, we actually mean mothering because we
haven't done enough research with dads," she said.

"And some of the research that has been done has asked mums about dads, which is a filter that is not very helpful.

generation are the pioneers who are making this up as they go along.
You can't look at how your dads behaved, that will give you part of the

"It gives you the soccer and so on but doesn't give you the intimate kind of contact that current dads want."

She said, with overlapping roles, modern parents had to learn to accept each other's style of raising children.

mums think they are giving helpful comments to make dads better dads,
dads really don't see that as helpful," Prof Lee said.

"If we
want men to back off, that's probably exactly what we should do. Men
are much more likely to be involved if we let them get on with it.

"Men parent in a slightly different way than mothers do. We're just starting to understand dad's role."


Source: NEWS.com.au – http://tinyurl.com/yhzk49w