5 Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child
It’s no secret life is busy and flies past so quickly! For so many parents it can be a challenge to spend quality time with their children with work and other responsibilities, which can be another stress point. Studies have proven that the amount of quality time parents spend with their child has significant impact on their behaviour, emotional well-being, and academic achievement. Yes those unexpected and spontaneous times that just happen are wonderful, however it’s also a good idea to plan quality time together in case those ’spontaneous’ times become few and far between. So here are 5 ways to spend quality time with your child.
1. Turn all technology off
When spending quality time with your child, it’s essential all technology is turned off so you can give them your full attention. Active listening, eye contact, open body language and undivided attention is required for your child to feel heard, valued and important. You can’t spend quality time with anyone let alone a child, when you’re scrolling through social media or texting, otherwise it’s not really quality time, as the message you’re sending is that technology is more important than them. I knew someone who would always be on their phone when spending time with their toddlers. Their toddlers would constantly be trying to get the parents attention and then resorted to misbehaving. Research has also shown that these ‘breaks’ in the flow of conversation between parents and children (due to the parent being on SM) can cause significant delays in children’s speech.
2. A Tradition or Ritual
These special times can be daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on what you choose to do, your schedule and the age of your child. We have very fond memories of doing purposed different traditions with our children, together and one on one. Here are a few examples that we enjoyed: Treasure hunt Tuesday- where they had to follow clues to their dinner, silly made up stories (from Dad) before bedtime, back the front dinners where we ate dessert first, one on one outing where one of us went out with one child for a meal, each child helps to cook a meal, games nights, dress up dinners, giving weekly awards for all kinds of things on a Friday night, everyone writes an encouraging note to each other and puts it in the family ‘mail box’ and they are read out at the end of the week etc.
3. Include them in home improvements as much as possible
Growing up I was never allowed to help in anything like household duties, home maintenance, washing the cars or anything really. Therefore by the time I was an adult I knew very little about anything to do with any life skills. With my own children we made sure that we always included our children in any maintenance, renovations etc. It was a great way to teach them life skills, safety, built up their self-esteem and it was a different way to spend time together. We fixed any leaking faucets, painted the shed, installed kitchens, bathrooms, planted trees, bought them little tool kits and they loved it. Another benefit now is, as young teens and adults they are very skilled and have confidence to tackle anything, which is also a bonus for their employers.
4. Exercise together
Our backyard and quiet one way street afforded the opportunities to exercise together. I set up obstacle courses, swam in our pool, climbed trees, scootered, rode bikes, lifted weights, ran on the treadmill, played basketball, tennis, golf and much more. Then there were the bushwalks, walking to explore the local area, visiting most of the parks in Brisbane and going to places like Bounce. Our children loved the fact that we did all this together and they learnt so much in doing so and the health benefits were also a bonus.
5. Making time together on the go
If none of the above is possible or rarely happens then you can still purposely have activities planned when you’re going from here to there. Depending on their age, silly songs can be made up, word games, spotting games, treasure hunt activity sheets for the car only, etc. and as they’re older; bonding and connecting conversations can be had as they are a captive audience! Why not even keep a mini picnic set in the car to pull out for a quick take away dinner somewhere to use before or after an event.
There are really so many activities you can do together, certainly more than 5 ways to spend quality time with your child. There’s literally thousands of ways, from 5 mins to how ever long according to your lifestyle. However, the absolute essence of spending quality time together is being present, giving your child your full attention – no phones, laptops, television etc. Whatever you choose to do now makes the memories for tomorrow, and will be the building blocks for long lasting relationships right into their adult years. So just simply start.