Make time for your children. Have meals with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Converse. Don’t watch TV during this time, and ban cell phones at meal times – for good. Have you noticed how much more you converse with your family during load-shedding? Mealtime should be family time. No arguments. No fighting. Only kind, loving words should be spoken. Leave the serious discussions for later.

Involve your family in preparing meals and cooking. When they are too small to handle knives, let them wash the vegetables; tear salad leaves; wipe the counter tops; wash or dry a few dishes – even if they make a mess.

Play games with your children. Play outside with them or swim if you have a pool. Let them choose a hobby that you can all do together. Watch their favourite programme or their favourite sport with them on TV.

Teenagers want to spend more time with their friends than their family but you need to have rules. For instance, no visiting friends during a school week. Do you always know where your teen is and what they are doing? Always confirm what they tell you, for their safety. Download a tracking App so that you can see exactly where your teen is at all times. Again, this is for their own safety and your peace of mind.

If you have more than one child, it is wise to spend special bonding time with each child. You don’t have to spend much money to take each child out separately for a breakfast or movie – if you can afford it. Make your child’s favourite sandwiches and go to a safe park to have a picnic, and talk. Spend time alone with each child, doing what they love doing but make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Then focus completely on that child. No cell phones.

Elsabé Manning

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