Everybody is busy. I get it. With so much going on every day, sometimes it’s hard to connect daily with your family. And balancing life and work to do just that is one of my biggest struggles as a working mom.
But quality family time should be at the top of every parent’s list of priorities.
Family time is my favorite event. But I noticed that no matter how much time I had on hand, I began constantly feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. Between a full-time job, my husband’s demanding schedule, running a business, home-ownership, and two kids, I am busier than I have ever been. Heck, we are all very busy.
But quality time is something we all have to find to invest in. And for very good reasons.
What is Quality time?
First, we need to really define what quality time is.
By definition, quality time means giving undivided attention to someone else. In this case, the “someone else” would be our partners and kids.
Notice that there is no specific amount of time provided in that definition. That means that it is up to the individual to determine how much time is enough, and that target goal may change on a daily basis. We will talk more about that a little later.
Another thing to remember is quality doesn’t have to be super complicated. The key is making sure your family are paying undivided attention to each other. So a simple walk around the block, watching a movie, or even reading a bed time story are all opportunities to nurture relationships with your loved ones.
Family quality time is important for several reasons.
Family quality time creates a sense of belonging.
The biggest reason that quality time is important is because it helps creates a sense of belonging for each family member.
Quality time with the family is nourishment for the soul as food is nourishment for the body.Tweet
Having a sense of belonging is actually a human need. Feeling connected helps people see value in their own lives. They can envision a sense of purpose for themselves and order to their world. As a matter of fact, absence of this connection can manifest as physical pain.
This connection brings us joy and also makes us more resilient during hardships. When we see that we are not alone and that others have experienced difficulties and pulled through, or are walking beside us through it all, it becomes easier to bounce back.
Family quality time improves behavior.
Generally speaking, kids can often act out because they are seeking attention. Several studies have linked inadequate family time to behavioral issues in children, such as smoking and alcohol use.
One personal example stands out clearly in my mind about this. It is about an incident that happened when Axel (my eldest) was about 2 years old. I had carried him to one of my appointments. We were in the room for at least 30 minutes and while there, I ended up having a long conversation with another parent. I vaguely registered that Axel had been trying to get my attention for a few minutes.
Our conversation came to a halt when Axel bit me so hard on my chest that he took the skin off! It took everything in me to remember he was just a baby. And a minute or two later I also realized that he had been trying to get my attention for some time.
Biting is not okay at all. It is also not okay to ignore your kid.
Spending quality time with kids gives them the attention they naturally seek…and deserve. Rather than looking for love in all the wrong places, or by doing the wrong things, they find a positive environment to send and receive love.
Family quality time improves confidence and self-esteem.
Quality time was very rare in my family growing up. Because of this, I learned a lot of bad habits that led to considerable insecurities.
I did not think my voice was important, so hardly spoke up for myself with my loved ones. I assumed that I was not good at most things since I was hardly allowed to help with anything because I would just “be in the way”. It took 20 years to improve my voice and confidence in many of my abilities.
I say this not to bash on my family (it was a different time and place then), but to emphasize how I can see firsthand the effects of family quality time.
My son started out very hesitant to speak due to my earlier parenting errors (harsh authoritarian style without very intentional quality time). I saw his hesitation to formulate his own opinions or defend himself and actions. I also saw his hesitation to complete simple tasks, like put together a puzzle, without looking to me every two seconds with a wary look in his eyes. I saw so much of who I was in my insecurities in him that it broke my heart.
Now, he is much more confident in himself. He speaks up for himself when he feels he is being treated unfairly. He charges full speed ahead to do an activity without glancing at me every 2 seconds. He still looks for my approval, but hs unhealthy dependence on it has considerable decreased.
And with each interaction I continue to see more improvement.
Family quality time reduces stress and depression.
The world can be a stressful place. Not even little ones are protected from feeling it. Family time is the perfect opportunity to help your kid work through stressors.
Family quality time is an opportunity to really dig deep into your kids’ thoughts, get to know really know them, and help them navigate challenging situations in their lives.Tweet
On a Reddit thread the other day, an Australian mom was asking for help for her daughter. The never-ending blaze through the country has been on the news for some time. So it is no surprise entire communities are shaken.
The mom had concerns because her daughter was visibly anxious, had significant changes in her sleeping patterns, and had a change in appetite. All signs of high stress in children.
Another Reddit user who happened to be a firefighter gave her a very detailed response on how to handle the situation. It all boiled down to spending time with her daughter discussing the stressors and letting her help prepare an emergency kit in case of evacuation.
While this is an extreme example, this was a golden quality time moment. The mom spent moments of undivided attention with her child and prepared the family for potential emergency response.
Even parents feel less stressed with more family time, presenting a better and more cooperative mood overall when able to connect with their loved ones.
Family quality time demonstrates good social and parenting skills.
Family time is the first opportunity for your kids to learn proper social skills, from presenting proper manners to respecting boundaries.
They learn how to be kind to one another. They learn how to work well with others and how to communicate their needs, wants, likes, and dislikes.
They learn how to say “please” and “thank you”, how to show love and affection, how to express and navigate their feelings and emotions.
They learn to interpret social cues through positive and consistent exposure. And they figure out how to resolve conflicts and the art of compromise.
These skills and more prepare our children to interact with other people. And learning how to do this improves their chances of being successful, balanced, and happy adults.
Being intentional with spending quality time with the family on a consistent and frequent basis is important for both you and your kids. Family time has time and again contributed to the positive development of children both mentally and physically. If you need some guidance on creating space for quality time in your schedule, I have a post that can help you achieve your best work-life balance.
The biggest regrets people have at the end of their lives is not spending enough time with their loved ones. What changes will you make today to make sure you are spending quality time with your family?
Comment below and let’s learn from each other!