The Ultimate Guide to Quality Time with Your Kids!
Table of Contents
- What is quality time?
- Why do I need quality time?
- Life is crazy! How will I find the time for Quality Time?
- What if I’m horrible at coming up with activities?
- My kids drive me nuts, how can I enjoy quality time?
- Do I spend time with all my kids at once, or one at a time?
- What if I want to teach my kids stuff, not play with them?
- What if I’m not good at playing with kids?
- What do I do if I have no common ground with my child?
- Take the 7 Day Quality Time Challenge!
What is quality time?
Quality Time (or QT later in this post), is any activity that you spend actively engaged with your child.
It doesn’t include the time when you are both in the same room together but are doing separate activities. It also doesn’t include time when you are passively doing something together, like watching television.
Real quality time occurs when you are talking, playing, laughing, working on a mutual project and enjoying time together with your child.
Quality time can include almost any activity, including an art project, a game, sports, or anything else you and your child would like to do together. It could be a special place that you like to visit together like the beach, a nature trail, a museum, or even a special trip to the ice cream shop.
Quality time doesn’t need to be well planned or expensive, it can be simple activities done at home and on a daily basis too. It doesn’t really matter what you do during this time together, only that you are there to listen and talk to your child and vice versa.
When in doubt, just think back to your own childhood. Simple moments together with your kids are what they will probably remember more as they grow older, because those were the times you showed you loved and cared for them the most.
We believe that spending ten minutes of quality time with your kids on a regular basis, is a great way to start fostering a loving, healthy relationship with them.
Why do I need quality time?
Spending quality time with your children helps their mental, emotional, social, and physical development.
You will feel closer with your children if you carve out time specifically for them where there are no distractions. Your kids with greatly benefit from the time together as well.
They will be more likely to confide in you when they get older if you have spent quality time with them when they are little.
If your kids are already preteens or teens, quality time together will help prevent them from engaging in risky behaviors.
Your family life will be happier when your children feel loved and cared for and you will have fewer problems with disobedience as your child gets older.
Your kids will learn how to interact with others during this time: not only how to act with other adults, but also how to play nicely with their friends.
During play time with your younger kids, they will increase their fine and gross motor skills which help them with balance, coordination, and overall growth.
Your kids can become more creative, compassionate, and loving when they spend quality time with you regularly, no matter what you decide to do together.
The daily amount of quality time doesn’t matter much because it means so much more to your child than lots of quantity time where you aren’t really interacting or bonding.
Life is crazy! How will I find the time for quality time?
In our increasingly busy world, it can seem impossible to find time to really spend with our kids, but quality time doesn’t need to be a whole day’s worth of activities.
The moments you have together before school, during dinner, or before bedtime are great times to spend with your child. Quality time can be as simple as talking at the breakfast table, playing a board game, or reading a book together.
If you feel like you don’t have any time for planning or doing activities, you can still have some one-on-one time with your child while cooking dinner or folding laundry.
Finding time for QT can be especially difficult during the work week when your kids need to be dropped off at school or daycare and the afternoons are spent shuttling them to practices and other afterschool activities before homework, dinner, and bedtime.
Quality time doesn’t have to occur every day, though. It might feel impossible for you to spend special one-on-one time with your kids during the week, or even during the weekend if you work, they have sports games, or birthday parties and other events.
A great solution to this is to schedule quality time with each of your kids in advance. It might be an hour on Wednesday or a whole day once every two months. That way, your kids will have something to look forward to and you won’t have to stress about what you are going to do or when you will find the time to spend together.
What if I’m horrible at coming up with activities?
The internet is a great resource for finding free activities to do with your children. You can search by age, gender, or even your location to see what activities your child might like. You can also narrow your search by the type of activity, be it art, music, sports, games, science experiments, etc.
You can search for outdoor activities or indoor activities if it’s a rainy or snowy day.
Any type of seasonal activity will be enjoyable for you and your child and is something you can both look forward to all year.
In the spring you might go to the park and watch the trees and flowers bloom, while in summer you can canoe on a local lake. In the autumn you can make leaf paintings, and in winter you can drive around at night looking at holiday lights.
The activities don’t need to be expensive; in fact, they don’t need to cost anything at all. If you don’t have any ideas, ask your children what they would like to do.
Maybe you have a budding musician or a future computer coder. You can search for your child’s interests online as well and see anything fun you could make or a place you could visit together that your child will really love.
My kids drive me nuts, how can I enjoy quality time?
Even though we don’t want to admit it, sometimes our kids drive us crazy.
Maybe you feel like you don’t have anything in common, or you don’t agree with your child’s views on the world. Maybe your personalities clash – you could be a social butterfly and your little one is shy and reserved.
Maybe your child is trying to assert his independence and you feel like he is growing up way too fast. Maybe the two of you fight a lot, or have nothing to talk about. Or maybe, you just want a moment for yourself every now and then, but feel like you give all of yourself to your family.
It’s totally ok to feel that way.
But no matter how difficult or unpleasant your child may be to be around, they still need you, and you still need them. Make new, better memories with them.
Even if you don’t get along most, or all, of the time, you can still spend quality time with each other every once in a while.
If you avoid topics that lead to arguments, or even call a temporary truce with one another, there is no reason why you can’t play a game or talk over a dinner you made together.
Do I spend time with all my kids at once, or one at a time?
It’s best to spend quality time with your children individually.
This way, you can give each child all of your attention. It is also easier to find an activity to do together when you only have to please one child at a time.
Each of your children will really love and benefit from this time together. Your oldest child will be grateful to have the alone time they used to have as your only child, or the feeling of being more than just the responsible, example setting one, if they were too little to remember being your only baby.
Your middle child(ren) will also love spending individual time with you because they might envy the freedoms of your older children and the special treatment of their younger siblings.
Your youngest child will of course be ecstatic to spend that quality time with you as well, and might even be the easiest one to please because they just love spending time with you no matter what you do together. If you can find activities to do with the whole family every once in a while that can be great bonding time too.
But if it’s a choice between spending time all together or with each child individually, let each child feel special enough to get your undivided attention.
What if I want to teach my kids stuff, not play with them?
Play time with your kids is actually a great learning experience for them!
They learn social skills, such as how to be gracious and empathic, how to win and lose gracefully and how to communicate appropriately with others. They increase their communication and listening skills as well. Most games are learning experiences for kids too; they learn how to follow rules and increase their fine motor skills and their hand-eye coordination.
Quality time activities like reading to your kids will definitely help them learn their letters and increase their ability to identify objects, people, and animals. It will foster a love of reading and learning that will hopefully continue throughout their life.
Simple games like stacking or sorting blocks will also teach young children their shapes and colors. There are many educational games that you can play with your children, but even purely fun games will teach your kids a wide variety of skills.
If you do want to focus on toys that are educational, make sure they are fun as well. Flash cards won’t keep a kid’s interest, but a science experiment where they can make their own slime or rock candy will. When your kids are having fun, they are more likely to learn and retain information anyway.
What if I’m not good at playing with kids?
Don’t be worried!
These aren’t kids you don’t know that you are forced to entertain. These are your babies. They already know how awesome, or goofy, or “lame” you are.
Be yourself while you play with them. Whether they know it or not, they just want to spend time with you, even if they say you’re embarrassing.
When I found out I was having a boy, I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to play with him. I was used to my childhood games of dress up and tea parties – how would I be able to play trucks and army men? But it wasn’t hard. I took my son’s lead: when he made animal sounds in the dirt, I did too. When he built a tower with blocks only to smash it on the ground as soon as it was finished, I smashed my own tower.
Very young children will not even think to make fun of you; they will probably copy what you do no matter how ridiculous it is. Older children love using their imagination and can create all kinds of stories and games that you can just follow along with.
What do I do if I have no common ground with my child?
Quality time with your child is a great time to learn about their interests.
Maybe you are a math and science person and your little one is a creative spirit. She can teach you about art, music, or dance.
Kids feel great when they can teach someone else about things they are good at; it really improves their feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. It will also make you seem more human to them; you don’t know everything but you are willing to learn, even if you feel silly.
You don’t always have to be the authority or the giver of knowledge, learning from your children will teach them that it’s ok to ask for help.
If you show your kids that you are open to trying new things, then they will be more open at school or on the playground with their peers.
Showing your willingness to learn about your child’s interests will help bring you closer together.
While you may not like the same things your child does, you’re showing that you care enough about them to care enough about the things they love. And that shows them that they are truly loved.
Take the 7 Day Quality Time Challenge!
Why try the challenge?
Because you want to turn quality time into a habit, a second nature. You want it to become an integral part of your life at home.
One of the best ways to start new habit is to track your daily achievement and then reward yourself for it.
This works for us as adults too, not just kids!
That’s why we’ve put together a chart you can use in case you decide to take on the challenge.
Following this guide will show you how doable quality time with your children is, even when you feel like you don’t have any time for fun activities with them.
We believe that spending even ten minutes of quality time with your kids on a regular basis, is a great way to start fostering a loving, healthy relationship with them.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, only that you show your children by your presence, your conversation, and your time that you care about them and want to be a bigger part of their lives.
Not only will time together teach your child valuable skills, but they will also feel more safe, cared for, and loved. These feelings are crucial for developing a happy child and a happy and productive citizen when they get older.
The moments you spend together one-on-one create a lasting relationship.
No matter what you do or how much time you spend together each day, or week, or month, quality time is important for both your child and for you.