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Quality time with Dad

Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz Published on 31 March 2021
Father and daughter

Some of my oldest memories with my dad are of riding in the tractor. I spent many long hours with him feeding cows, working ground or baling hay.

Those long hours made my eyes heavy and my head droop to the point where my sleepy noggin would bounce off the window with every bump and jolt. It definitely was not the best sleep I ever had as a kid but, by far, it was some of the best quality time I got with my dad. I cherished this time so much that when I came home to visit from college and wanted to spend time with my dad again, I would ride with him to haul silage just for old times’ sake. More years have passed since then, and now it is my daughter Stella who gets to ride in the tractor with Grandpa or her dad.

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Let’s face it, life is busy for farmers – especially dairy farmers. Between work and life responsibilities, the days pass us by in the blink of an eye. Children need high-quality time with their parents. This is what is most helpful to children and what can have a positive effect on them as they grow. We parents worry that we don’t spend enough time with our children, wondering if it will lead to slower growth and development. However, it isn’t about the endless hours of time – it’s about how you choose to spend the time that truly matters.

While farmers may fall short on the quantity of time they spend with their family, they make up for it in quality. Farmers don’t give themselves enough credit for their vast knowledge of everything. They are scientists, chemists, meteorologists, veterinarians, welders, mechanics, and the list goes on. They have so much knowledge and wisdom they can impart to their kids, and the biggest opportunity they have is that every day can be “bring your kid to work day.”

Below is a list of tips for busy farmers on how they can connect and spend more quality time with their children.

  • Errands to anywhere. Load up your kids and take them with you into town to the co-op, hardware store or bank. Most businesses keep suckers and Tootsie Rolls on hand just for your little helpers.

  • Working on shop projects. Let them hand you tools and talk to them about what you’re doing and how you’re fixing something.

  • Just watch them play. How many times do your kids beg you to just watch them? Children love to be watched, so watch them dig in the sand pile or play in the commodity shed.

  • Have one-on-one conversations with them. What better place than while milking in the parlor to get to know what your kids are thinking or feeling. Ask them about school or how they spent their day and share about your daily life with them. Soon, your child might find a confidant in you.

  • Tell your child you love them every day. Tell them how important they are to you and how they make you feel. If you don’t find time to say it out loud, then write it down as a note to leave on your kitchen table or on your barn whiteboard where they will see it.

There can be a tendency to hurry from one task to another and lose an entire day without connecting with our children. Don’t let business or inconsistent work hours prevent you from connecting with your kid. Some days, quality time is elusive, so grab the available moments – however you can – to catch up, converse and connect with your kids.  end mark

PHOTO: Stella and dad. Photo by Audrey Schmitz.

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Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairy
  • Email Audrey Schmitz

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