The old adage of quality over quantity proves true when you’re talking about the time that parents spend with their children and its impact on their well-being. Lets be honest, with the business of modern day parenthood, that comes with a big sigh of relief. In fact, a recent study shows that quality time between parents and kids plays a more significant role in positive outcomes than the amount of time spent together. So rather than feeling guilty for not spending more time with your kids, you can focus on making the most of the time you do have together.
The study by Milkie, Nomaguchi, and Denny (2015) found that how much time mothers or fathers spend with their children has little to no effect on children’s behavioral, emotional, or academic performance... Quality time is so important, that research indicates that time spent with a stressed out or anxious parent actually had a negative impact on kids. This also give credence for parents taking time to focus on their well-being; so instead of feeling guilty when you take care of yourself, imagine putting the oxygen mask on first on the airplane so you will be able to care for your kids. In the long run they will remember not how many hours spent together, but will be reminded of family laughter, game nights and time spent cuddling when quality time is the focus.
So, what are some fun ways to spend some quality time with your children?
- Reading a book together
- Walking the dog or taking a family walk at the park
- Playing their games with them- whether it’s a favorite board or video game or something they’ve invented all on their own
- Family meals- this can be going out to eat or enjoying a special meal at home together, like a pancake brunch or ice cream night
- Instead of asking about their school day and hearing, “Fine,” ask them their favorite part of their day and least favorite
Really be there for your kids during these times; focus on being engaged in the moment and not on checking your cell phone or email. Rather than worrying about the amount of time spent together, seek out moments to really connect with your children and foster the relationship.
Written by: Elizabeth Erwin, B.A., Intake Specialist & Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC