Q&A: Spending quality or quantity time with children

Q: Is the quality of time I spend with my children more important than the quantity?

A: The truth is that both are essential to a child’s development and well-being. In fact, the more involved parents are with their children — and the word “more” here is used with direct reference to the concept of quantity — the less likely children are to have social, emotional, or academic problems, use drugs or alcohol, become involved in crime, or engage in premarital sex.

It’s also worth pointing out that while being intentional with our children is important, it’s not always possible to plan meaningful interactions between parent and child. Such serendipitous moments can’t be cooked up and crammed into a few minutes of “quality time” every day. Many critical opportunities to make memories, model values, or connect are fleeting and will be gone in the blink of an eye. You can’t seize the moment if you’re not there to do the seizing. To regularly capture those moments requires spending lots of “quantity” time together.

One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to turn off the TV and disconnect electronic devices when you’re home. Instead of watching TV or surfing the Web, read together, play board games, take a walk to a local park, or sit and talk.

Finally, avoid the temptation to get your children overly involved in activities outside the home. Some parents feel pressure to sign their children up for numerous sports teams, music and dance lessons, social clubs, and all kinds of community organisations. Don’t fall prey to this mind set. Children don’t need a dozen different weekly activities. They need quality and quantity time with loving, involved, and committed parents.

​​© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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