How to Create Quality Time With Your Family and Kids
At Cali's Books, I have made it my mission to give parents like you (and me!) the tools to make the most of spending quality time as a family. As a busy parent, you may feel guilty of not finding enough time to spend with your children. Take a look at some ideas about quality time. It’s easy to get started!
What does it mean to spend quality time?
The Merriam Webster dictionary defined quality time as "time spent giving all of one's attention to someone who is close (such as one's child)."
I was surprized to see that this official definition focuses on children. The big important word that I want to focus on here is 'all' of one's attention, so it's time to lock that phone in a drawer!
Examples of Quality Time
Are you at that point where you know you want to make more time for quality time but don't know how to spend quality time together? Quality time with children and adults can take many different forms. Chances are you're already doing some of these without knowing it! Let's get you inspired.
Some of my favorite ways to spend quality time together are:
Reading an interactive book out loud together
At Cali's Books, we’re all about enjoying the delight of reading together! Do you have a budding musician in the making? Why not introduce them to Bedtime with Mozart? A fantastic way to complement any bedtime routine with gentle classical music as a relaxing bookend to the day.
Eating at the table without the distraction of technology
iPads and cell phones away while you enjoy the taste of a delicious meal! Maybe you could even incorporate them into the cooking process in a child-appropriate, safe manner. This one doubles as an opportunity to give nourishing encouragement!
Going for a walk in the woods
Can you tell each other about the different types of trees and bird sounds? While walking, you could discuss family values of social responsibility like caring for the environment and your fellow humans.
Talking about how school or daycare went that day
This is a big one for having the opportunity to teach your children essential lessons about sharing, playing well with others, and coaxing out interest in other kids' diversity and life experiences. Additionally, it alerts you in case there is something wrong that needs to be addressed!
Learning something new, especially about your child's special interest
Get yourself to that dinosaur museum or get out a book about space from the library.
Celebrating family traditions together
Whether this is making a cultural meal or celebrating a holiday, every family has traditions to carry into the future!
This one is especially helpful when you're low on time and energy. Spending a few minutes here and there going for a dirty laundry hunt together or doing the dishes together gives the opportunity to learn the skills needed to run a household. Additionally, more mundane household tasks allow you to have big, meaningful conversations about diversity, injustice, and family values.
Exploring crafts, pretend play, free play, or even games as a family
Encouraging playfulness in yourself and your kids will create bonding moments. Check out my article on the three types of engaging games you three-year-old will like!
Why do you want to spend more time with your kids?
That's an easy one, because you love them! Besides just being fun to hang out with those little munchkins, the positive effects on kids' development and behavior from spending quality time with parents, grandparents, and caregivers are numerous.
Think back to your own childhood; chances are pretty high that some of your most precious memories growing up were of spending quality time with a loved one. One of my most beloved memories involved making macaroni frames with glitter and glue at the kitchen table. Those memories and experiences lead to well-adjusted, happy kids. Happy kids make happy families!
How Quality Time Affects Our Children and Families
Did you know that spending quality time with your child impacts their emotional and social wellbeing and long-term academic success? Undivided attention sets your little smarty pants up for life in the fast lane.
Family Bonding: spending quality time together as a family helps everyone feel closer and cared for.
Academic Benefits: you're giving them a step up academically by talking to your kids about school and helping them with homework.
Well Behaved Kids: the more kids witness the importance of interpersonal skills and how to communicate and treat one another with respect, the less likely they are to have behavior problems at school or within the family.
Mental Wellbeing: because kids have the opportunity to talk about the mechanics of their day during quality family time, they can also express their emotions and talk about anything that may be causing them to worry. A little tip from me: before jumping into 'parental fix it' mode, be sure to give them the time and space to express themselves. This allows their feelings to be validated and valued rather than fixed.
Feeling Loved and Cared For: I'm sure you've heard about love languages and how speaking one another's love language can make you feel appreciated and loved. This does not only apply to adult relationships. Spending quality time together signals to your child, "Hey, you are loved and important to me, and I will make just as much time for your emotional needs as I do for your physical needs."
The Magic of Undivided Attention
A huge part of spending quality time together means undivided attention. We spend a lot of time teaching older kids division and multiplication, but dividing our attention should be a scarce occurrence.
Historically, we're used to sharing our caregivers' attention with another sibling or maybe even a late night work call. Nowadays, our attention may also be divided via social media, the news, and myriad other things. That's a lot to contend with for small and big humans!
Giving your child the undivided attention they crave will not only benefit them, it will also give you a much-needed time out from multi-tasking. Welcome to family mindfulness practice!
How Much Time Per Day?
When we're busy, it can be challenging to feel like you're doing enough and finding the time to do more. The good news is that between those beautiful ages of 3 to 6, spending at least 10-15 minutes of quality time with a child will make them feel fulfilled and cared for.
Go on and get it on the calendar!
It may even be helpful for each child to know that there is some quality time guaranteed even on days when mom and dad seem like they are elsewhere with their thoughts and actions. This knowledge that coming together and communing will happen during the day allows them to feel secure.
I hope this has been a helpful introduction to how quality family time can help the entire family feel connected. Remember, just 10-15 minutes of time as a family can make a difference to everyone's health and wellbeing.
Quality time does not have to be complicated; it can be easily incorporated into even the busiest of days. However, if there is ever a day where you just can't fit it in, I want to remind you that you are a fantastic parent, and your child loves you to the moon and back.I'm off to spend quality time with a book and my sunshine kiddos. We may even chat about how their mental health is doing due to the changes in routine during the summer!
Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books
“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”
I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!
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