Quality time versus quantity time–which is most impactful when it comes to your children?
Quantity time for parents and kids refers to the amount of time a parent is physically present with their child. But even in the quantity of that time, the parent may be only physically present and not emotionally present.
Quality time is spending time together focusing on your relationship. It means not just sitting in the same room at the same time, but actively choosing to make time for each other and for your relationship.
Unfortunately, quality time often becomes a trendy excuse for being too busy to have much time together and so most parents use quality time to refer to setting aside a special time or planning a special event with their children for the purpose of building the relationship. Yes, they are being intentional to create quality time and this is good, but there’s more to quality time than planning for it.
The problem is that parents may assume that only those special planned occasions are considered “quality”, while the rest of our time, the 90% of our lives spent working and doing household chores, are not considered quality time. The fact of the matter is that quality time cannot always be scheduled, sometimes it just happens in the space that is allowed, and the space that is allowed is the quantity of time that you are actually with your kids.
The bottom line is this: we are only fooling ourselves if we think the amount of time we spend with those we love does not matter. Good relationships cannot be built without spending ample time together where connecting is a priority.
Perhaps parents would be better off training themselves to be ready for those “quality” moments at times when they are not specifically planning them. That means that we look at the majority of our time as “quality time,” realizing that this doesn’t just mean “exciting” time together. Dinners, rides in the cars, family game night, conversations at bed time–these are spaces that can allow for quality time. Quality time does not have to be designated to special outings or trips with your kids.
In order to allow for this type of quantity and quality time, we must adjust our schedules and commitments so that we have the energy to take advantage of such quality moments when the opportunity arises. We have to allow for the space of time, the “quantity” of time because in those spaces, the “quality” moments will come up when they are not planned or expected.
One more important point. If you as a parent are stressed, you will be distracted and not attentive to the needs of your child. Do not ignore your stress; work on a plan for minimizing it so that you can be fully present with your child when you are with them.
If you need help dealing with your stress as a parent or perhaps you’d like to work on a plan to manage the quantity and quality time with your child, schedule a free intro call here.