Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Balancing Quality & Quantity Time With Your Child


Working from home is becoming a popular thing to do.  The reason often cited for working from home is so that one can create their own work hours, and so that they are home with the family.  While that is a great motivator, the goal of developing a better relationship with the family is often missed.

Let’s think of what your child is feeling when you are on your computer, phone or book and you have plopped them in front of the TV so that they will be quiet while you are doing something important.  They may feel that they are being overlooked. Yes it is great that you are home to spend quantity time with your children, however the quality time is being missed.

While you may be home with your children for most of the day, you may never read a story, draw a picture, play, or eat a meal with them.  Sharing a meal with your children is a great way to decrease their anxiety, depression and delinquent behaviour; it is also a great way to increase their school grades and to get to know your child as they grow.

There is also the other side of the spectrum, where one works frequently, and travels often.  Essentially you are rarely home.  When you are home, you do extravagant activities, such as going to Disneyland, adventure camps, eating out or sports outings.  While these do appear to be high quality time events, the quantity is being missed out.  The children are being taken out of their routines.

What I am suggesting is a better balance between quality time and quantity time. One is not necessarily better than the other.  You need to be a part of your child’s routine.  Here are some ideas of activities you can do to be a part of your child’s routine to balance out quality and quantity time.

Read stories.  Whether this is at bedtime, or right after you get home from work, take the time to read to your child.

Bedtime Routine. Be a part of the bedtime routine. Split duties with your partner, one brushes teeth, while the other reads stories or sings songs, or whatever the routine may be.  Nonetheless, be a part of bedtime routine.

Share a meal.  I mentioned this earlier about eating supper together.  Now I do understand some people do work evenings, so I suggest sharing a meal at some point during the day, whether it be breakfast, lunch or supper.

Play time. Unstructured or structured.  Unstructured, meaning you allow yourself to be a child again and play their games at their pace, inside or outside. Structured play time, means to have a set activity, such as tobogganing or crafts.

Talk. Even if your child is three, ask them how their day was, guaranteed they will have a story to tell.   Always keep the channel of communication open with your child.

Family Night.  I am an advocate for having a once a week planned and pre-arranged family activity, not a last-minute-throw-it-all-together family activity. If this happens weekly, it is part of a routine.

These are just some examples of trying to balance quality and quantity time with your children.  If you do these, keep doing them.  If you have similar customized activities, keep doing those.  If you currently not balancing quality and quantity time with your children, start now.

Written by:
Josh Lockhart
.....is Locking Hearts Together

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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