Let’s face it, it’s a busy life! The days pass in the blink of an eye between the duties of work and life. Some parents worry they’re not spending enough time with their kids, worrying if this will lead to delays in progress. Many parents feel bad about working full time or feel anxious about choosing to workout or go to dinner with friends. In contrast to this depression, social media posts from stay-at-home mothers who can take their kids to the local zoo or focus on colors and the alphabet with them.
But don’t worry! A new study in the Journal of Marriage and Family examines the effect on the academic achievement, behavior, and psychological well-being of their children by mothers spending time with their children. This is not to refute the value of spending time with kids, but rather to emphasize the idea that time quality is much more valuable than time quantity. Kids deserve high-quality time with family and caregivers— that’s what’s best for children and what can have a positive effect on them as they grow up. It’s not about endless hours of sleep— it’s about how you choose to actually spend the time.
Nine Tips for Quality Time with Kids
We should make choices as parents and caregivers to ensure the time spent with our kids is of high quality. For busy parents, here are nine tips:
- Every day you have a “link” to your child. If it is possible to do that face-to-face; but if this is not an alternative, create a ritual, such as leave a note with a toothbrush or write a phrase on a shared whiteboard in your house.
- Create a special tradition that can be repeated every day for you and your son. Let your child pick and read a book with you at bedtime, it’s an example.
- Tell your child that every day you love her more than more. Then tell her how important it is to you and how it makes you feel.
- Reinforcing good behave. If your child, for example, does his or herself without asking you to do this, accept it with thankful words — even if you are not lucky enough to do it until the next day.
- Wherever possible, make and eat meals with your boys. Search for simple meals that take very little planning if time is limited, or grab a healthy snack like an apple and sit down for a couple of minutes to talk with your son.
- Schedule time to do your child’s choice practice. Make sure to follow the task and finish it without disturbances.
- Play with your daughter until you drop her off at pre-school, even if it’s during the tub or outside.
- Laugh with your kid and be dumb.
- When you spend time with your child, shut off electronics. Attempt not to write, respond to calls, click via social media, or watch TV.
Meaningful connections are quality of time, not the amount of time. Keep it easy and communicate so that your lifestyle and relationship with your son makes sense. Each connection has a permanent impact and provides your daughter with support and reassurance.