THE VALUE OF QUALITY TIME
BY URSULA BRANTLEY
In a world full of careers, bills, extracurricular activities, home management, and a slew of other responsibilities, parents do their best to make sure they’re spending much needed quality time with their children.
It’s not always easy balancing life and parenthood, but consistent one-on-one time with your children is vital to their development. According to Our World in Data, a trusted source of information for publications such as The Wall Street Journal and institutions such as Oxford University, the amount of time that parents are spending with their children has been increasing over the last 50 years. When it comes to getting in that one-on-one time with children, the key things are consistency and undivided attention. That means disconnecting from devices and really focusing on one another.
Quality Over Quantity
Many parents feel guilty when various responsibilities cut into time with their children, but studies have shown that the quality of time parents spend matters more than the quantity. The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, reports that high quality time is what is most beneficial to children and has a positive effect on them as they grow. Having a weekly movie night, participating in a favorite activity, or reading before bed are all great ways to connect.
Strong child-parent relationships help build self-confidence, promotes positive behavior inside and outside the home, helps children with their academics, and strengthens the family bond. Children need quality time from both parents if that is an option for them. It’s true that many children are raised in single parent homes, but if they have access to both parents, it is crucial that they receive consistent quality time with each parent. According to Psychology Today, time alone with mom can be different from time alone with dad, and those differences reinforce the strengths that come from each of them.
Time doesn’t always permit for certain activities or routines and that’s completely understandable. Something as small as leaving a note in your child’s lunch or telling jokes and singing songs on the way to school can also make a child feel seen and valued. Those moments may not seem like much, but it can mean the world to the child as well as the parent.
Spending valuable time with your children also encourages positive communication skills. It can be difficult to get more than a one- or two-word answer when asking your child about their day so it matters how you phrase your questions. Instead of asking an open-ended question like, “How was your day?” try asking, “What was your biggest challenge today? How did you work through it?” You’d be surprised at how much information children are willing to share if they are asked the right questions. Participating in quality conversations also teaches children how to properly express themselves in a safe space.
It’s also essential to tell your children that you love them every day. When a child feels loved at home, they won’t feel the need to find love and affection elsewhere. As adults, we know that searching the world for love and attention can lead to the dangerous situations and unwise choices that we try to protect our children from. Building emotionally and mentally strong children begins at home with their parents and families.
Children who are raised in loving environments tend to carry those values with them as they grow up and go on to raise their own families. As the saying goes, it’s easier to raise strong children than it is to fix broken adults.