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Parents, Your How-To Guide: Spending Quality Time With Your Kids
Spending quality time with those you love can be extra challenging nowadays. With some families juggling multiple schedules and extracurricular activities, finding that extra time can be daunting. When we spend quality time with our kids, we are displaying to them that they do matter and they are learning that it is possible for them to build healthy, connected relationships with others.
It seems straight forward why quality time is such a great addition to our relationship with kids. Engaging in quality interactions reduces stress levels by allowing space and time for us to share how we are feeling with one another. This in turn benefits our physical and mental health. It also boosts one’s self esteem, which is beneficial for you and your youth. It reminds them that they matter thus increasing their overall sense of confidence in life. Another benefit is that it helps us to feel connected, decreasing feelings of loneliness. This is important now more than ever as we arise out of the past two and a half years of physical distancing and isolation.
There are many reasons why quality time can be of value to us and our families, but what exactly is quality time? In Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, he describes Quality Time as a focus on togetherness. It is about spending time with another person and sharing your affection with complete focus. This can require a bit more diligence, especially in our technologically driven lives. Focusing on one another completely means to give your undivided attention.
Here are some ideas you can begin to bring a sense of togetherness into your family:
- Dedicate time each week to spend with one another. This might mean you dedicate an hour doing an activity you and your children enjoy or something you are open to exploring like a new hobby. You might want to dedicate an hour to each child or do it as a family. Be creative and be open to suggestions from your kids. A main piece of this is to be integral with your plan. Agree to a scheduled time and be sure to keep your date with each other. This can be a challenge after a long week, so figure out a good time that will work for you all.
- Limit technology when with family. This one can be challenging, especially for those who work from home or are constantly receiving emails and messages. To build togetherness, it is important that we focus on the present. If putting your phone away and dedicating a period of time to be fully present with another causes anxiety, remember your kids are worth it. This is a chance for you to role model the importance of being present for your kids. Emails and messages can wait. Think back to what we used to do before cell phones were a thing. We survived then, we can survive now!
- Show genuine curiosity in your kid’s hobbies and interests. We all want to be loved and accepted as we are. Sometimes as parents though, we can be hard on our kids as we want to see them grow up to be successful and empowered. Growing up we had our own interests that were most likely downplayed by our parents, and so we continue the cycle. An encouragement here is to allow your kids to express themselves and show you what it is they love. Whether it is a favorite television show you can sit down and watch together or taking part in an activity they enjoy like drawing or going to the local arcade. Let your kid show you how to be a kid again and see what sense of connectedness shows up.
- Have a YES Day. Side note: my kid wanted me to drive this point home for you all. If you have not yet seen the Jennifer Garner and Jenna Ortega film, Yes Day, then that may be a good place to start. A Yes Day is when you allow your kids a 24 hour period of time to pick and do anything they would like to. Your role as the parent is to say YES – to everything! You can set out rules ahead of time, such as no new pets or they can only spend up to so many dollars, etc. See what fun your kids will come up with while you get to step out of your comfort zone. It can be an empowering day for your kids and a lot of fun for everyone. Besides, your kids will thank me later.
So engage with your family in a new quality way and see the benefits begin to emerge. A happy family means a more likely happy you!
Written by Fola Veritas