The greatest gift you can give your children is time

walk in the woods

How many times have you heard that phrase or something similar?
Well I decided to live it over the Easter holidays and the more recent May Day bank holiday.
I gave the children my time. Lots and lots of it.

We went on walks, we sat around doing nothing, we chatted, we read, we put a tent in the back garden, we baked, we visited friends, we took the dog on long adventures – we even got bored together.
When they’re little it’s easy to give them your attention, because, well, you have to. Or they’ll walk into the road or put sticky fingers all over your expensive shoes or eat your stash of secret chocolate.
When they’re older they don’t need you as much. Your chocolate stash is safe because you can threaten them (kidding. Sort of).
But I gave them my undivided attention. Not my ‘answering an email on my phone in one hand while listening’ attention. Not my ‘cooking/ironing/removing gum from clothing while listening’ attention. Full on ‘let the house go to rack and ruin’ attention.

And I noticed things. Little things; quite subtile changes and shifts in their personality. Most of all I noticed that I really don’t do enough of this. I have two great kids. Really great kids. And they are at a really great age. They are fun to hang out with, fun to chit chat with, I can have interesting discussions with them.
We all have busy lives now – job, school, after school clubs, sports, friends, family, husband and me time. But what this break has taught me isย I really do want to stop every now and again and take stock.

Consequently I don’t have many photos from our time off together. And those I do have were mainly snapped quickly on my phone.
But that’s OK because what I got out of that time with them is far better than any blog post I could write.

Easter baking outdoors easter grass sledging Mia at Easter

The incredibles rugby team

(No he’s not into intimidating the opposition. Well not with face paint anyway! Dan played in a rugby festival where the teams were asked to go in fancy dress. So they opted for the Incredibles theme as all went as Dash. The face paint mask looked a lot better to begin with. And yes, his three coaches all dressed as Mr Incredible for the day too. Made a lot of ladies very happy . . . .!)

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16 Responses to The greatest gift you can give your children is time

  1. Kim Nash says:

    What a lovely post Tara and one that people should take notice of. I get really narky when I see parents shouting at their kids and not enjoying spending time with him. Most of the time they are shouting at them because they are trying to do other stuff and not being "present" with them. You can never get time back and time goes so quickly and can be snatched away in a millisecond! I hope that loads of people take your lead and become truly "present" with their children and their families xx
    My recent post Review – The Edge of Sanity by Sheryl Browne

  2. ThePuffinDiaries says:

    I have noticed the same as you. When I am present and available to my children they are a delight to be with, and so am I. When I'm trying to do me things at the same time as be with them we are all a nightmare. Lesson learnt, well in the most.

  3. saveeverystep says:

    Phwoar, nice cake!
    My recent post Faces

  4. bloggermummylauren says:

    I feel awful when I read something like this because I know I am sometimes guilty of only being half present while I try to read emails or have a look at twitter. I need to put my pad down sometimes and just have some time out with the kids for sure x
    My recent post Gadgets – Tablets and crazy kettles

  5. pantomum says:

    A lovely post and so true. Housework can wait, a phone call is but an invitation to answer, and what I've found is that by taking time out with the kids not only brings us as a unit up to speed, but has an added benefit – you find out so much gossip!!! Highly recommend it, and when they've had enough You Time, they soon wander off, leaving you to text your friends and tell them the news that you have just discovered…;-)
    My recent post Growing Old Disgracefully

  6. doctormick says:

    Nice blog, shared (with some difficulty, your blog doesn't share photos in links) at

    Thank you

  7. Elaine Livingstone says:

    so very very true, I am now on 11 year old grandchildren and even see my time with them slipping by. But when they are hear I am delighted to be able to devout my time to them. Daughter brings the twins over on a wednesday evening and I get to spend time with them without the older 2, best of both worlds

  8. Becky Arber says:

    This is a lovely post! It's so true! Our little one is only two and a half, but I still don't know where those two and a half years have gone! Sometimes I really feel we need to stop looking down at our phones and start looking up at our kids!
    My recent post Trailing for Nature

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