During my time in school, my mother would worry that I did not spend enough time with my children. She would note that I worked 56 hours a week at the office, attended school 8 to 12 hours a week and did homework 20 hours a weekend. How in the world did I get time with my children?
Parenting is not about quantity but about quality
One researcher suggests that small children only need 15 minutes of one on one time per day and another author suggests the more time a teen spends engaged with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores.
If you are like me and wonder if your children are getting enough of time and attention from you, don’t worry anymore. Here are 5 things you can do to spend quality time with them.
- Engage in an activity with them they enjoy
This maybe reading a book, playing with Legos, kicking a soccer ball around, wrestling, painting your fingernails, playing barbie dolls, shooting guns, I think you get the hint, whatever your child enjoys, find 15 minutes out of your day and engage in the activity with them.
- Sit down and converse
I am lucky, all my children love conversation so this is the easiest one for me to do and it usually happens while we are riding in the car. I let them talk to me about whatever they want and I engage and listen. They get undivided attention. I get my ear talked off and everyone is happy.
- Have meals together
I know life is extremely busy but family meal time should be the last activity dropped off your calendar. Plan at least 3 to 4 times a week to eat together and during this time put your devices away and enjoy each others company.
- Plan family date nights
This is the one night a week my husband and I valued while we both were in school. No matter what, Friday night was family- fun night. We took the kids to the park, Dave and Busters, bowling, to fairs, carnivals, out to eat, to the mall, wherever we could think to go we went.
- Do a project with them
Invite your child do help you do something. Make this time fun, engaging and full of conversation. You can paint the porch together, build a hunting blind (My husband did this with my children), put a pool in together (the girls and I did this). Oh, and my favorite memory, the girls and raked the driveway gravel together. Children enjoy stress-free, family time that is engaging even if it involves work.
Next time you start feeling guilty about the amount of time you don’t spend with your children, put away your guilt and engage in one of these simple activities. All it takes is about 15 minutes!