Many people go through life consumed by their never-ending to-do list—causing them to spend less and less quality time with the ones they love. That pile of laundry and those emails waiting in your inbox—they can wait. Your children need your attention more. Finding the balance between work life and home life is challenging. Quality time is the key to connecting those two worlds and creating a family dynamic that is impenetrable.
I was reminded of this recently by my two-year-old daughter while we were running errands. She was having fun playing with LEGOs while I was getting my tire repaired. When it was time to go, she started crying and saying she wanted to stay and play. I normally would have viewed her outburst as a typical toddler tantrum, but at that moment I slowed down long enough to really listen to what she was saying.
I had a choice to make. I could either go home and let my daughter play there while I did the work I needed to do, or I could spend quality time with her doing something she enjoyed. I chose quality time—and here’s why.
1. Children Grow Quickly
Our children will only be small for a few short years that seem to fly by in the blink of an eye. These precious moments of youth should never be taken advantage of because soon they will not be as excited to spend time with us—their devoted parents who have raised them nurtured them and provided for them. Almost overnight their interests change and the disconnect begins. The thought of our children outgrowing us is not pleasant to think about, but it is a reality we must all accept. That is why we must embrace every possible opportunity to make memories with our young children while we can.
Addison enjoying Toddler Time at the Gym.
2. Children Need to Feel Loved and Important
Feeling loved and important is a vital part of the human experience, especially in young and impressionable children. This is very important to their development; as well as building their self-esteem and self-worth. When children feel safe, secure, loved and valued, they are better equipped to live a fulfilled life and become successful adults—the goal for all parents.
3. Children Learn By Example
Children often mirror the behavior of those they spend the most time with. If you want your children to grow up respectful, caring, well-mannered and responsible, you must model this behavior in front of them as much as possible. If you are not spending enough quality time with them, do not be surprised when they pick up traits you do not approve of. Teach your children to be leaders instead of followers. Always make an effort to set a good example for your children to follow, especially during quality time.
4. Learn More About Your Children
When you spend quality time with your children, you are able to start seeing their personality develop, allowing you to get to know them better. By learning more about your children’s likes, dislikes and personality traits, you can plan your quality time according to their interests. Children thrive in an environment that is nurturing to who they are as individuals. Some children may enjoy a quiet setting, while others crave excitement and adventure. You will also start to see both their strengths and weaknesses, and in doing so, you can help them build on their strengths and become successful adults.
Addison playing with other children at the indoor playground.
5. Children Need Someone to Confide In
There is a fine line between being a parent and being a friend. Both are important when establishing a strong relationship with your children. Being someone your children can trust and talk to openly is vital to their overall wellbeing. Start having open, honest discussions with your children at a young age so they can grow up knowing they will always have someone there to talk to when times get hard and they need advice and guidance. Be sure your children know that when they are with you they are in a safe place with no judgment or criticism.
6. Children Need a Strong Relationship With Their Parents
The most important benefit of spending quality time with your children is creating a special bond that will last a lifetime. Children can achieve more in their lives when they have a supportive family unit. The lessons and skills they learn from you will stay with them forever, which is why it is so important to start making those connections and building those relationships while they are young. The relationship will grow and change over time, as expected, but the security and love they feel with last forever. It is important to spend quality time alone with each of your children so that they all feel equally loved and valued. Ensuring each parent gets adequate quality time with the children alone is also important.
Alyssa enjoys swinging at the park.
Quality Time Tips:
- The key to good quality time is being able to give your children your full attention and vice versa. Plan for when you will be least distracted. Make your quality time as personable as possible by ditching your phone. It’s rude! Always make eye contact when talking to your children. Remember that they are constantly learning from you, so emulate the type of behavior you expect from them. Showing mutual respect for one another will go a long way.
- Work in quality moments throughout the day. Everyone has a busy life, even our children, but setting aside a few minutes each day to really talk to your children and ask them about their day will help strengthen your relationship and make spending quality time together even more special. Planned outings are great, but spontaneous trips to get ice cream or go to the movies can be just as fun and memorable.
- Spending quality time together as a family is also very important. Family game nights, movie nights, dinner traditions, Sunday Funday, jam sessions, grilling out together, holidays and family traditions are all great examples of quality family time. These bonding moments set the framework for how your children will value family in their own lives.
Our family enjoying MSU Fan Day.
- Spending quality time does not have to be expensive or difficult to come by. A good place to start would be asking your children what it is they would enjoy doing with you. If you are a busy working parent, use the time you do have with your children, such as after work and on the weekends. The benefits are endless, so make bonding time a priority in your family. Here are some ideas on ways you can spend quality time with your children.
Quality Time Ideas:
1. Go to a park.
2. Go to story time at your local library.
3. Cook and bake together.
4. Play sports together or practice for a sporting event.
5. Outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, bike riding, swimming.
6. Go shopping together.
7. Read a book together.
8. Make arts and crafts together.
9. Watch a movie or tv show together.
10. Participate in your children’s hobbies.
11. Attend school and community events together.
12. Go to the movies, concerts or amusement parks together.
13. Go on a date of their choosing.
14. Go to church together.
15. Go on a trip and explore a new city together.
16. Try something for the first time together.
17. Exercise together.
18. Take a dance class together.
19. Make a scrapbook together.
20. Learn a new skill together (i.e. playing an instrument, learning a language, singing lessons).
If you have other quality time ideas, tips or a story from one of your quality time adventures, please leave a comment below. We all can benefit from sharing our own experiences and learning from one another.