We are all aware of the importance of spending time with our little ones.
However, as working parents, life is hectic for us. Too often, our schedules are packed. Many of us worry about whether we are spending enough time with our children and how it might impact their development. When the time we have with our little ones is limited, the quality of that time becomes crucial. In this article, we will be sharing tips on how to maximise quality time with your little ones.
You might be wondering, what exactly is quality time? Quality time is time spent with our little ones while we give them our undivided attention. It can be time spent with our children even when performing the simplest of tasks like having a meal together or reading them a book every night.
Quality time offers many benefits. This includes strengthening the bond between us and our children which is crucial for their development and wellbeing. This paves the way for bigger, more difficult topics as they grow older. By setting time aside specially for our children, we simultaneously send the message that they are the most important thing to us, which helps to boost their confidence. In addition, spending quality time with our children improves their communication skills and teaches them vital social skills. Children learn how to respect and care for others from the way they are treated by their parents. A study by researchers from the University of Michigan has also shown that family time is linked to fewer behavioural problems (Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001).
The key to spending quality time with our little ones is to give them our full attention. Regardless of how packed our schedules are, here are some suggestions on how we can incorporate quality time with our little ones into our day:
- Turning off all distractions, be it the television, mobile phones, or tablets. As tempting as it may be to be on our devices, doing so will help us better focus all our attention on our little ones.
- Creating a special routine for us and our children to spend time together regularly. This can be done via having meals together daily or nightly bedtime reading.
- Incorporating meaningful conversation during the time we spend with our children. Using everyday activities as opportunities for rich conversations with our children can help them express their thoughts, feelings and experiences. For example, you can hold meaningful conversations even while lazing around in bed in the morning, or tucking them in during bedtime. Role-play situations that happened using soft toys so children can reflect on their experiences and share their feelings. Extend the role-play to model what is an acceptable response to difficult situations they may have encountered.
Remember, meaningful connections are about the quality, not quantity, of time. Incorporating simple routines into our daily lives to connect with our children will have a lasting impact and provide our children with the support they need throughout their developmental years.
Hofferth, S. L., & Sandberg, J. F. (2001). How American children spend their time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(2), 295–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00295.x
Roudabush, C., & Rider, A. (2019, April 9). Why spending quality time with your children is important. SDSU Extension. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://extension.sdstate.edu/why-spending-quality-time-your-children-important
Tips for spending quality time with your child. NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/spending-quality-time-with-your-child