By Meghan Burk
Embracing Parent and Children Together Time
Families First embraces a “whole-family” approach to assess and address the needs of children, adolescents, teens, adults, and the elderly. They pride themselves in creating solutions to families to help stimulate employment, support family financial stability, promote literacy, support positive youth development, promote positive father involvement, as well as supporting Department of Human Services County Offices through parenting education and parenting skills development.
As many places around the nation have developed “PACT-Time,” Families First has started developing their own PACT-Time within their centers across Mississippi. PACT-Time stands for Parent and Children Together Time.
When a parent and child interact during PACT-Time, the primary goal is to enhance and enrich their relationship. The heart of PACT-Time is parents and children talking, sharing, playing, laughing, cooperating, and learning together. Our goal is to help parents understand the importance of PACT-Time and assist in how they can create a quality one-on-one time with their children at home.
Every parent’s goal is to raise a happy child. There is no true manual that actually teaches and tells one how to parent their child. Everyone has his or her own parenting style, but oftentimes there is one simple step that is overlooked—attention. Everyone needs special attention in some way, but from birth to adulthood children need time and attention from their parents. Parents can concentrate so much on raising a “successful” child that they forget the importance of creating one-on-one time and missing that relationship interaction.
According to the Child Development Institute, creating an interactive together time will allow:
- The child feels important and loved.
- He or she has an opportunity to model the parent’s behavior.
- The parent can observe and learn about the child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to better guide them.
- The child has a chance to voice their thoughts and feelings.
- The parent and child develop a stronger bond.
We all live in this modern-day life that tends to become stressful. That stress can include how to balance work and life, workplace difficulties, financial stability, and many other factors. Research has shown long working hours, lengthy commutes and getting in from work exhausted led to one in four moms and dads feeling they don’t have enough time to spend time with their children.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 parents with children under the age of 6 spent 0.07 hours reading with and to household children. We often consider quality time to be the short car ride to school, quickly double-checking homework, or the hustle and bustle hours of cooking, cleaning, and bathing right before bedtime.
It actually affects children mentally when they’re lacking proper attention and time from mom and dad. The most common ways to enhance family time are:
- Family mealtimes without phones and tablets
- Watching a family movie
- Taking part in outdoor activities
- Attending concerts or shows
Families First has taken the initiative to help families strive to their fullest potential. PACT- Time has been implemented at one of the Families First Centers; however, there are future dates for other centers to participate. Families First–Hattiesburg had their first PACT-Time on March 27. Children were able to read about The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and then complete an activity related to the book with their parents to show what the book was about.
Plenty of studies have shown links between quality parenting time such as reading to a child, sharing meals, talking with them, or otherwise engaging with them one-on-one help create positive outcomes for kids. The same is true for parents’ warmth and sensitivity toward their children.
Our vision of PACT-Time is to give parents and children the together time they’re missing. Our goal is to have PACT-Time year round for families to use us as a tool to create that family bond utilizing our FREE services.
To find out when PACT-Time is coming to a center near you, visit FamiliesFirstForMs.org or call your nearest center and obtain more information.