According to Chris Hawke, the summer school holidays provide the ideal opportunity for parents to spend positive quality time with their children before the new school year starts.
This is even more crucial for children starting school, high school or a new school, giving them the confidence to make new friends or deal with difficult situations said Chris, the men and family relationships worker from Community Connections North Coast.
Children cope better with the challenges of the new school year if they are aware that mum, dad and other adults like them personally and want the best for them, Chris said. Research shows us that when children feel known and loved by significant adults they have a sense of connectedness that keeps them safer and happier.
Chris suggests fishing, cooking, playing cards or backyard cricket as easy fun ways of letting children know they are important, or even simply chatting with them in the car.
Unfortunately work and other commitments can limit the time parents, and in particular dads, get to spend with their children over the holidays, but one great way for boys and their dads to reconnect is to go camping.
Community Connections has organised two adventure weekends; one for nine to 11-year-olds on the weekend of February 3 and 4, and one for 12 to 14-year-olds on the weekend of February 24 and 25.
These non-profit camps have been enjoyed by hundreds of local boys since 1998 and involve physical activities and quality time for reflection and connection. The cost is $150 per person, which includes full catering and all camping gear, and of course its not just dads that can go. It could be an uncle or grandfather or other significant male in a boys life.
The reality is that boys often miss out on the crucial emotional connections, particularly with their dads, said Chris. But on the camp they get to connect through adventure activities and just being together. The thing that the boys most love about the camp is they have their dads for a whole weekend, without distraction. They are just happy to be with their dads and the adventure stuff is just a bonus.
Chris says the reality is that spending time with your children is the secret to a successful parent/child relationship, and he believes the consumer model of children needing to be entertained or constantly bought things is incorrect.
Its the simple things that children remember the most and often its just being with them thats important, he said. Time spent with your children is like putting money in the emotional bank. It helps prepare them for the years ahead, builds their confidence and helps them to cope emotionally.
Contact Community Connections on 6622 3143 or visit www.communityconnections.org.au for more details on the camps.
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