Benefits of Spending Time with Your Child
WhatToGetMy Instructional Article
You hear about this a lot: reschedule everything so you can spend more time with children. Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, my children already see me every single day, what more can I do”. Is driving your kids to school or having dinner while you all check your phone every 5 minutes really that beneficial for your kids’ happiness? Psychologists are saying no. Experts are trying to underline the importance of spending quality time with children, not just being around them. If you continue to read carefully, you’ll find out what are the benefits of spending time with your child.
Before we get to the reasons why quality time is important, we’ll give you a few tips on how to spend quality time with your child.
- Have a special activity only for you and your kid and be sure you do that every day. Make it a part of your everyday routine. Some examples might be: 15-minute exercise, reading a bedtime story, making breakfast together, etc.
- Let the kid choose the activity you’ll engage in without any distractions.
- Play with your child and don’t be afraid to get a little silly.
- Turn off technology devices when you’re playing with your kid. Try not to text or scroll through social media.
- Cook and eat with your kids whenever it’s possible. If the time is a problem, choose simple and healthy meals that require little preparation, so you can have more time to sit and chat with your kids during lunch or dinner.
What is “quality time”?
As we said, you’re probably already spending a lot of time with your children, especially if they’re younger. However, most of that time is spent on doing chores like cooking or helping your kids with their homework. That would be quality time if you were enjoying the time with your kids. For example, cooking a simple meal together or doing fun school projects and conducting experiments to help them study, etc. We know that’s probably not the case. That’s why you should think about including special activities that can be regarded as “time well-spent” i.g. quality time with children.
The first rule of providing quality time is giving up any distraction. Put your phones aside and forget about your daily tasks for a moment. Don’t check your email and don’t let your kid play on his/her phone. Pick an activity, for example, a board game, and follow through with it. It’s even better to let your child choose an activity that interests him/her.
Quality time is much more important than the quantity of time. What does this mean? It’s more beneficial for children that you give them 15 minutes of your undivided attention than to give them countless wasted hours. You’re not supposed to only “be there”. You should engage in activities and interact with the kids.
If you don’t have much time, choose something simple to do with your child. Reading a short story for ten minutes before bed is better for your kid than sitting in front of the TV for two hours while both of you are endlessly scrolling on your phone.
The benefits of quality time
Children need to spend time together with their parents for various reasons. If you want to let your child know you love them unconditionally, you need to make them a priority. Quality time allows you to show love and care. That’s beneficial for kids’ development and happiness. Spending time with your kids will have positive effects on their mental and emotional health. It can also fix the problems they might have developed with their behavior. You’ll learn to understand your kids better and become more empathetic towards them.
When you spend time with your children, they feel loved and cared for which is essential for kids’ development. They’ll become more mentally and emotionally stable. First, quality time builds their self-esteem. If kids feel more valued by their parents, they will, of course, think more positively about themselves. Their confidence will give them the strength to fight for themselves in the future. Not with a whining voice but with a calm and strong one. They won’t feel the need to draw attention with high-pitched tones, because they’ll know you will hear and acknowledge them even if they speak quietly and calmly.
Kids learn about the world and human interactions based on the things they experience and see at home. When you have a healthy relationship with your kids (showing them love, spending quality time with them, encouraging them, etc.) it’s more likely they’ll nurture those kinds of relationships with others. They might even become more social and friendly but that depends on what type of personality your kids have. If they are introverts, they might not make friends as easily as some other people. However, they would still learn to differentiate between healthy and toxic relationships.
Parents spending time with children will also keep the kids physically healthy. Quality time can be used for playing team sports or cooking together. That would teach them the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. If you encourage healthy habits when your kids are young, it’s more likely they’ll stick to them when they grow up. Teaching them about proper diet and staying in shape doesn’t have to be boring. It can be part of your family activities. Try playing a game of basketball in the driveway, or riding a bike together. You would be enjoying each other’s company, while also exercising.
Quality time will result in a parent-child bond that helps the kids overcome their problems, frustrations, and anxieties. You need to spend time with your kids on a regular basis, so they can form a healthy self-image. It’s not enough to “be there” for some occasion. You’ll need to show your kids love and attention regularly, so they can become strong and confident adults.
Fewer behavior issues
If children are spending more time with family, it’s less likely they’ll develop behavior issues. Loved and happy kids rarely disobey and act out. They don’t engage in risky behavior such as drinking because they don’t feel the need to “run away” from problems. You’ll have fewer fights at home and if you occasionally engage in arguments, they would be less severe.
As we previously mentioned, quality time will help the kids be confident, calmed and hence more cooperative. Providing healthy positive attention for the kids will reduce their attention-seeking behaviors. They won’t be running around the house, whining, or competing with their siblings for your attention.
To fix the cause of sibling rivalry, you’ll need to give your kids attention equally. It would best if you can find a one-on-one activity you can engage in with your kid. Be sure to offer your kids equal amounts of quality time. We know that younger kids require more attention but try not to neglect the older kid because of it. Find a hobby you can both share. That can be anything of his/her choosing from collecting leaves to reading comic books. Be sure to also include older kids in most family activities like shopping, cooking, or playing board games together.
When you establish regular activity to do together, your child will look forward to it. He/she won’t misbehave and will follow the house guidelines. When your kid acts out and you have to give him/her the “time-out”, it’s more likely that would be an effective discipline method because you’ve been giving your child regular doses of positive attention. Let us explain:
“Time-out” only works if you take something away from your kid. If you don’t give him/her attention regularly, there’s nothing you can take away, right? If your child already feels ignored by you, “time out” wouldn’t change anything.
Kids need their parents to validate their behavior. Negative consequences for misbehaving can only work together with praises and encouragement for good behavior. Children will always respond better to “time-out” if they have quality “time-in” to compare it with. Giving positive attention on an everyday basis can help you reduce the discipline measures you’re forced to take.
Increases the empathy
The time you spend with your child will enable you to understand him/her better. Likewise, he/she can have a glimpse of your point of view, especially if he/she is older. You’ll share thoughts and feelings, which will develop empathy for each other’s emotions.
When you choose to do something your child likes and put your undivided attention into that activity, you’ll enter the kid’s world. You’ll learn more about his/her creativity and imagination. Don’t try to change that point of view, even if you see it as “wrong”. Instead, try to encourage it. If you’re coloring and the kid wants to paint the elephant in yellow, let him/her. Share that vision and participate in it. You’ll see how liberating it can be to unleash imagination.
Putting everything aside to be with your kid, even for fifteen minutes a day, enables you to enter his/her world and become a part of it. Not only will that strengthen the bond between you and your kid but it will also allow you to notice any changes in his/her behavior so you can help him/her in time. The parents of the most problematic kids usually say that they didn’t notice anything strange in their kids’ behavior. They didn’t notice because they weren’t involved in their lives as much as possible, so don’t make the same mistake.
Parents of teenagers
The kids will let you be a part of their world when they’re young. You should do anything you can to remain involved in their lives even when they get older. You can only achieve that by giving them your undivided attention and spending quality time with them.
However, you might be struggling with your teenager’s disinterest in spending time with the family. When they get to teen years, kids crave for independence. They might distance themselves and choose to spend time on their phones. That is completely normal but you might need some behavior management strategies, so you can prevent them from totally isolating.
Teenagers will soon be adults and if you don’t nurture the bond you have with your kids, the distance might only grow. That’s why quality time is crucial for teenagers. You don’t have to regret not spending time with your kids after they grow up. Start at any time! Find out what are your teenager’s interests and hobbies and try to become a part of them. If you show genuine interest in what they like, they will surely “let you in”. We assure you that your teen really wants you around, you’ll just need to try harder to win his/her heart back.
Don’t neglect your own needs
We tried to underline the importance of spending time with your children but we should also mention the importance of “me-time”. You may have a demanding job, a house full of chores, and a ton of other responsibilities. Balancing that with quality time with kids could make you forget about your own needs. Everyone should have time for himself/herself, so don’t be a martyr. Try to include time for solitude in your weekly plan of duties.
Perfect balance requires a lot of effort, but it will teach your kids to respect other people’s needs. They’ll realize that mom and dad need to have alone time, so they’ll learn about boundaries and limits. You need to teach them to accept the word “no” in an open hearted way. If you already give your children enough attention, it won’t be hard for them to accept your need for distance. They won’t feel rejected because you’ll be showing them a lot more love when you’re rested and fulfilled as a person.
As you can see, there are so many benefits of spending time with your child. We’re sure you’ll find a lot of creative ways for family bonding. Enjoyable activities can become wonderful memories one day which can help your kids become better persons and happy adults.
You can enjoy parenting and still be a wonderful role model for your kids. If you want to learn more about teaching your child to give back, be sure to check out our other articles on these topics
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