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My eldest son will be 5 in 2 weeks time. Since the birth of our second boy, 7.5 months now, we have been totally consumed by him as he demands attention. Our eldest son just use to play with his Nintendo Switch and used to ask me to play and eventually started using an iPad. From time to time, I do colour with him, and take him out to cycle and teach him new tricks, but I feel I'm missing a lot.

I have a very volatile career as a web developer; I am losing my job again and again. My wife's brother moved in with us as they are not financially stable, so I provided for them until 2 weeks back when I quit my job due to stress. I feel like I am not excelling in my career and try to study all the time, but now I have the guilt of neglecting my family. I ask myself if I am the best developer because I don’t spend time with my son. I can’t teach him school things, can’t go out regularly with him and now my second son has taken most of my time.

I can see in my son's eyes, he wants time, but ever since my own teenage years, I have been sitting in front of a computer all day. I don’t know how to make a routine to bond with my son. His routine is turning out to be like mine. All day television, iPad and then sleep. I don’t want him to be raised like that. At the same time our second son is a constant attention seeker.

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Sounds like there is a lot on your plate and that you’re looking for new ways to connect with your son. Kids often benefit from some structure and routine. I would suggest starting by having a consistent time carved out on a regular basis where just you and your son have time together. This can start out as 10 mins every Saturday, for example, or a couple afternoons twice a week - whatever fits in your schedule. Is there something that you enjoy doing? Perhaps this is examining maps, going on a nature walk and looking for creatures, imaginative play, etc. Maybe it’s something you are curious about that your son has expressed interest in. I’m sure your son would enjoy having some one on one time with you.

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You will have to tackle the problem of stress in your life along with bonding with your son. As mentioned in the other answers, build a structured time to spend with your son. I was in a similar situation, out-dated skills, stress of having to find a job and guilt of not spending enough time with kids.

  1. You sound stressed. Take a complete break for 3-4 days or a week. Make a conscious decision not to think of work or finances. Maybe travel/ go to a local park everyday with your son and your family.

  2. Develop "deep work" habits. Its amazing how much one can done in a few hours of focused work. This was the most difficult part for me to develop. I now wake up and get a couple of hours of work/study done before kids are up. I have also minimized the time spent on TV and social media.

  3. Schedule times to spend only with your kid. Take him out to a park, throw a ball. Teach some reading or writing. Read books to him for fun. Take over responsibility for his meal (at least once a day), bath and other daily things to do. This will be hard initially for both you and the kid. The kid may not want to spend time in the park or read a book because screens are too attractive. Slowly limit and bring down screen time. It may be hard for you to feed the kid, since you do not know his habits around eating (just as an example, I do not know what you know about your kid). It may be hard for you to disconnect and stop worrying about work or finances.

The only way to bond with kids is spending quality time with them regularly. Also, if the stress is effecting you a lot, it may be time to take professional help.

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