Okay mom’s and dad’s….I’m going to tell you right now to let go of the parent guilt. Shipping your kiddo off to a friend’s for a play date or sleepover is not selfish. In fact, you are helping your kiddos navigate life. So there, I said it…it’s a judgement free zone here and now that we’re clear there, I’m going to tell you why it’s good for you, and your kids to banish them from your home for an afternoon or weekend here and there.
You Child Deserves This
Having other people look after your children not only gives you a break, allows you to get other things done and gives you time to miss them, it’s also essential for your child’s development for them spend time with other people and not just their parents. If you don’t have family close by then, it’s vital to make time for your children to see them. Alternatively, they don’t have to be family to make an impact on your child’s life; they could be very close friends who act as grandparents, aunties, and uncles or cousins. Either way, building these relationships with different generations is significant for children and their development, but it is also essential for you too, and here’s why:
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a special one, and if you’re lucky enough to live close to your parents or your partner’s parents, then make the most of it and encourage this relationship. I just lost my last living grandparent a couple of weeks ago. It’s been hard, but I have so many amazing memories of my grandparents; I just hope my kids will feel the same about their grandparents, and there kids…rinse. repeat.
Grandparents are ideal babysitters; often they don’t work and depending on the hours that grandparents spend looking after their grandchildren, they might be entitled to certain benefits such as tax credits or boosts on their pensions. You know your parents or your partner’s parents, they brought you up so they can be trusted, you know how they’ll be like as parents – although they’re probably much more lenient as grandparents. Studies have shown that older people spending time with young children give older people improved mental and physical health; it also decreases any feelings of loneliness and gives them more purpose and honor. This can also help with elder care needs for your parents or in-laws.
Aunts and Uncles
Spending time with aunts and uncles or friends of yours is really beneficial for kids because while it’s similar to spending time with parents, but just that bit more fun, but still good to spend time with different adults. Plus your kids will probably get spoiled by them which is always fun, and as your children get older, they can rely on their aunts and uncles for advice and for someone to talk to if they don’t feel they can go to you or if they want to talk about you. While we want to be everything to our kids, the reality is it truly does take a village so who better to entrust with your greatest gift?
Cousins are often our first and closest friends. Some of my best memories growing up are shenanigans with my cousins. Growing up with cousins is always fun so if your kids don’t have any who live close by, then make an effort to go and see them. Having cousins is like having all the benefits of a sibling, without actually having to live with them. They know you, they get you, and you can relate to them when it comes to moaning about your parents, so don’t deprive your kids of this relationship, it’s a good one to have. My sister, nieces and nephews moved away a couple of years ago and my daughter still asks regularly when she gets to see her cousin again. It’s heartbreaking when I have to tell her I honestly don’t know so if you are fortunate enough to have that relationship, don’t take it for granted.
Daycare, Pre-School or Nursery
Sending your child to a daycare, pre-school or nursery to socialize with other children of a similar age benefits them massively as it helps them to develop social and everyday skills. It’s also good for them to make friends, to learn from other children and to boost their confidence and teaches them how to interact with others. Not all parents can stay home, and even if you can, a part time situation is still something worth looking in to. There are just some things that kids have to learn by trial and error, and learning these socially acceptable actions before they enter the school system, can make a huge difference in a childs success and level of comfort away from home.
What do you think is the most important lesson kids can learn when they are spending time with others rather than parents? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!