As if you didn’t know it already, you have a massive responsibility as a parent.
The moment a baby is conceived, the parents’ lives instantly change. You’re now responsible for keeping another human alive. And more than that, you’re responsible for that human’s growth and wellbeing.
Phew. That’s a lot to take in.
Parenting isn’t easy by any stretch, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
You know the basics: Food, shelter, education.
You might even go above and beyond and give your kids all the toys their little heart’s desire.
But how much quality time are you spending with your kids every day?
That’s a tough question that hits home with a lot of parents because we’re so busy providing that we often don’t slow down and spend that quality time.
Well, in case you needed a reminder today (we all sometimes do), quality time is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child.
Here are the reasons why spending quality time with your kids is essential:
Lead by example – Do you ever feel like you’re spending too much time correcting your kids’ behavior? If so, increased quality time may help. The more time your kids spend with you, the more opportunity they have to see how you behave in various situations. So instead of telling them what to do, you’re showing them by your example.
Help them feel loved – Everyone needs to feel loved, regardless of age. But in these formative years, you don’t want your child to lack any feelings of love. The love you give today will help foster your child’s self-esteem and feelings of self-worth later.
Give them the opportunity to be heard – If your children always feel like they’re bothering you, they aren’t likely to come to you with problems. When they’re feeling bad about something, they’ll be more likely to internalize it than discuss it with you. This can cause issues for them in adulthood, but it’s also a missed opportunity for you to connect with and understand your child better.
Assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses – The more time you spend with your child, the more you’ll see his or her strengths and weaknesses. Does he tend to get frustrated when he doesn’t understand a problem? Or does she really excel at solving math problems? The more quality time you spend with your child, the more you’ll notice subtle things that weren’t obvious before. These may be talents you can encourage or bad habits you may want to help correct.
Ultimately, our kids need as much guidance as they can get. But they also need to feel comfortable being themselves and voicing their feelings and opinions. When you spend more quality time with your children, you can gain a better understanding of how to help them manage thoughts, feelings, and relationships.
How to spend more quality time
First, let’s talk about what isn’t quality time. Some people may consider tv time or other screen time as quality time spent together. And while it’s true that it’s better to spend time together than not at all, this doesn’t qualify as quality time.
When you’re fully engaged in a television program or social media feed, you’re not engaging with the other people in the room.
Daily quality time
If possible, incorporate quality time into your daily routine. But at the very least, try to spend a few hours each week on family time that’s centered around the kids.
Depending on your family, this may be a shopping trip, cooking meals together, having a game night, going for a walk or doing crafts together.
Reading to your kids is also a very effective way to help them learn while spending quality time with you. Reading stimulates children’s imaginations, helps them develop language skills and prepares them to understand the written word.
If you do end up watching movies during family time, make a point to discuss the movie and interact afterward. Watching a movie is a shared experience, but it can also be isolating.
Annual quality time
And once a year, plan a family vacation where you can really spend uninterrupted time with the children. Road trips are great for this because you’re all in the vehicle together without any major distractions. It’s a great time to talk, play games and bond.
But as with all things, there are limits. You can have too much of a good thing, so take frequent breaks and check the car service beforehand. Getting stuck on the road for a few hours might push family time into the category of “too much of a good thing.”
You might be tired of hearing that your kids will only be young once, but it’s true. When your children are young, it’s a great time to teach them the lessons you wish you had learned as a child. Quality time is the first step.