So what is quality time? I mean the constant sense of guilt for working parents is ridicules when it comes to spending time with kids at home. Universally we all agree quality time is needed but how much is enough? The short answer is, it’s never enough, but no time is unacceptable. Even a daily half hour (hopefully more on weekends) is better than nothing, and should allow for your kid to feel some love and attention.
The key that most people miss is 30 min of undivided and absolute attention. No social media browsing (even for a second) not calls taken (they can wait, not the end of the world). Thirty pure minutes of attention to your child, and TV/video games, or iPad is not quality time. It’s still some nice bonding time for the two of you but this is not part of the 30 minutes where you literally look your child in the eye as much as possible (avoid looking psychotic) and just talking to them.
If you decide to play a board game, it’s also great bonding (and much better than the digital format because you can have more of a human connection) but if so doing that every other day and then the alternate days just talking to them would suffice.
Reading books at night time is great, but again not quality time, neither would I consider meal time conversation (which in out houses usually constitutes arguing half the time to forcible have them eat their veggies). Going out to the cinemas or taking them to play areas are bonuses but not really “Quality” undistributed time.
My opinion? Half hour weekdays of just talk and joking around with no distractions, and maybe every other day (no more) of board games. Weekends I reserve for playing video games with him and the odd outing, obviously taking more time than the 30 minutes I do during the week. So far I think this has kept us on top of things when it comes to each others lives and opinions. I guarantee you though once you leave those distractions aside and you give that 30 minutes undivided attention, you can easily forget time slipping by being amused and inspired by how great kids can be.
In addition you might want to extend that half hour and do some systematic activities, most kids thrive on process, rules and structure. For example on weekdays where there is inherently more routine and structure:
- Monday – Create something day (a song or poem, a game, a story, a recipe, a joke, or even a dance)
- Tuesday – Board game night
- Wednesday – An outing night, nothing to fancy or out of the ordinary (i.e. a Starbucks)
- Thursday – Cooking night (including buying the groceries)
- Friday – Lego night
Plenty of time to do all that other stuff – including social media; it’s not going anywhere, but they will be.