You read the title correct. Quantity time is something that most parents overlook, yet it is essential to a child’s overall well-being.
Raising well-rounded, well-behaved and well-mannered children takes time, prayer, tears, love, wisdom, intuition, guidance and the list goes on! Yet, many parents appease their consciences with a statement similar to the following: “I am a busy parent, but I love my kids. So I give them what I can. I give them quality time.”
According to recent research and studies, the average American parent spends 5.4 minutes of “quality” time with his or her kid per day. A little over five minutes a day. Shocking, isn’t it?
This “quality” time does not include telling kids to get a shower, changing their diapers, turning on a movie for them to watch while the parent cooks, etc. This is one-on-one time where affection and interaction is shared between parent and child.
Many parents believe they have to choose between quantity and quality. Why not give your kids both?
When you go to an upscale restaurant and order the best steak on the menu, what do you want? You want quality and quantity. You do not want the waiter to serve you with one tiny bite of the tender, juicy meat. You want the whole piece! How would a knowledgeable parent come to the ridiculous conclusion that his or her child wants only a tiny piece or fragment of their time? Not only do they want a huge chunk of your time, they need it!
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health conducted a survey of 90,000 seventh through twelfth graders. The answers given revealed that kids with strong emotional attachments to their parents and teachers are much less likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, or engage in violent behavior.
Children that do not find love, joy, attention and affection at home are more likely to turn to the above activities or objects in order to obtain a superficial taste of gratitude, affection and satisfaction that they did not find at home. Harsh, yet undeniably true.
According to the same above study, 52 percent of parents admit they don’t spend enough quality time with their children, and 57 percent of children believe their parents are more concerned about their work life than their own children.
One-on-one attention, love, devotion and care can easily be attained by a mother that chooses to stay-at-home with her children. Yes, the finances will be tighter, but the long term results are well worth the sacrifice.
However, some parents, due to a divorce or death of a spouse, are forced to raise their children alone, and therefore carry a great burden to provide for the family’s main income while striving to give enough love and attention to all the little ones in the bunch. For parents that are in a more difficult situation and are unable to stay at home with their children, here are some ideas to get more quality and quantity time in with your kids.
- Create a Family Night. Pick a night that suits your family. Friday night is a popular one for many families. Set this time aside just for family. No work, no homework, no cleaning — just family fun time! Think of an activity during the week for your entire family to participate in on this special day. A board game or other game, a favorite movie, a dress-up contest, an impromptu puppet show, ice-skating, basketball, s’mores over a campfire or whatever makes your kids smile. End the fun evening with a slumber party in Dad and Mom’s room. The kids will look forward to this time every week and will make memories they will hold close to their hearts. Oh yeah, and no bedtimes are allowed!
- Recruit a helper. During the week, assign one kid per night to help you cook dinner. Your child will be learning and you can discuss all the happenings of the day together.
- Eat at least one meal a day together. If dinner is too busy a time to sit down to a meal together, get up early and enjoy a hot breakfast together. Meal time allows everyone to sit down and talk over one of their favorite activities — eating!
- Establish a bedtime routine. Every night schedule time with each child. Read each one a book and give each one a hug and kiss before bed. Kids need to be reassured of their parent’s love on a consistent basis. Try to squeeze as many cuddles into one day as possible!
Enjoy your little treasures God has given you. Don’t rush the moments you have to spend taking care of them. Take time to count their toes, tickle their bellies and listen to their questions. Give your child quality and quantity time today and every day.