There is a myth among parents that spending a lot of time with your kid is enough to provide the necessary and healthy conditions he/she needs for a healthy mental development. That is simply not true at all.
It doesn’t matter how much time you are spending with your kid if the only thing you are doing is watching TV while your kid is playing on his/her own with his/her toys next to you. In that case, there is no difference between he/she standing next to you for 20 hours or just 2. Either way, it won’t have a positive effect on your kid.
Although it doesn’t mean that quantity is totally unimportant, it just emphasizes that quantity is nothing without quality. 5 minutes of quality time worths way more than 3 hours of non-quality time when the time you spent with your kid is considered.
However, the question is what is quality time anyway? It is the time you spend with your kid that actually helps his/her mental development and contributes to his/her psychological growth.
So, do not worry if you are a single mom or dad or if you feel like you can’t spend enough time with your kid because you are working too hard. You don’t have to spend many hours with your child to be able to contribute to his/her growth.
In this article, we will be discussing how you can spend quality time with your kid while also contributing to his/her mental growth. Here are the 7 things you can do for it:
1) Try To Bond With Your Child
This one is an extremely simple step. Ask your child how her/his day went like, how she/he is and try to find some other topics that you can
Yet, if you are a parent who can’t really find the time to have a proper conversation with your child, you can find other ways for communicating with him/her such as putting notes on her/his lunch box. Anything that can help you connect with her/him is good even if you can’t spend so much time. Remember, we care about quality more than quantity.
Also, don’t forget to show her/him that you love her/him either verbally or in means of bodily gestures as it is a really effective way to build a bond and gives her/him the confidence she/he needs to be able to communicate with you.
You can also bond with her/him through laughing and being silly together. Acting like you are in the same mindset with her/him will make her/him feel closer to you and
2) Do Your Own Activities Together
As bonding is one of the most efficient ways to spend quality time with your kid, why not spend time with him/her even when you are doing your regular stuff?
For example, doing chores might be boring, but if you try to turn it into a fun activity, you will be teaching your kid about taking responsibilities and you will be bonding with him/her at the same time. Try opening up some music and having fun with your child while cleaning the dishes. Who knows, it may even turn out to be more fun than you are expecting.
Of course, this is not only limited to doing the chores. And it is quite normal if you don’t want to give that one a try. Let’s admit it, doing the chores might get really boring at times.
Thankfully, you can always try cooking with your kid since cooking is usually considered to be a more fun activity than doing the chores. Furthermore, you can teach him/her a life skill that he/she will need in the future as well.
If you can’t find the time to cook meals, even preparing snacks together can do the trick and give your kid the chance to spend some quality time with you.
The best way to apply this suggestion is probably by eating together with your kid since eating is a fun activity that doesn’t require any effort at all. Therefore, if you can’t do the ones suggested above, at least try to eat some snacks or meals with your kid every day.
3) Let Your Kid Pick an Activity
It is pretty self-explanatory. Let your kid choose an activity to do together. Kids love being taken seriously so listen to her/him when she recommends an activity for you two to do. Never quit the activity in the middle of it. Make sure that you complete it together.
If she/he wants to go to the zoo or see a movie, try to realize her/his wish. Of course, it might be impossible to make every wish of her/him real, but as long as they are plausible and you can afford, give it a shot. It will be a great opportunity for bonding and therefore, spending quality time with your child.
This also means that if she/he wants to play with you, you shouldn’t just ignore her/him. When She/He wants to play games with you, you should be able to participate in these games as much as you can.
4) Have a Special Ritual
Having a daily ritual with your kid really helps a lot. You can let him/her pick the movie you are planning to watch together or let him/her pick up a song he/she likes at dinner. You can dance with him/her or tell him/her good night every day. Go and walk with your child for half an hour. Do grocery shopping with your kid.
These suggestions might seem small and silly but they are definitely effective steps for you and your kid to take so that you can spend quality time with him/her.
5) Encourage Positive Behavior
If your kid does something that deserves appreciation, give her/him that. Appreciation motivates children a lot. Besides, she/he would learn about what is right and what is wrong.
Reinforcing positive behaviors such as your child tidying up her/his room without your reminder will not only teach her/him how to take responsibility, but it will also strengthen the bond you have with her/him.
This will definitely count as spending quality time as it gives you a chance to leave an impact on your kid about who she/he can grow up to be in the future. Thus, always try to be a good role model and never stop teaching your child how to differ right from wrong by encouraging and appreciating her/his positive behaviors.
6) Try Crafting
Although it is hard for everyone to be crafty, it is definitely something for kids to enjoy.
If you are looking for another way to bond with your kid, you can give crafting a shot. Just like adults, kids love the pleasure of creating something functional out of scratch. Even if it is not functional, it is definitely a fun activity for kids.
You can help your kid and let him/her help you in the crafting process. Spending such a fun and caring time while coming up with something productive will help your relationship with your kid grow. Plus, crafting also improves a child’s productivity and creativity, so it is a great way to spend quality time.
7) Avoid Using Technological Devices
Last but not least, do not get distracted by any technological device you own. Especially in this century, it is really easy to lose focus while you are doing something. But, this shouldn’t be the case when you are spending time with your kid.
If necessary, consider turning off your cell phone, your computer or any other technological device you have. It is not your fault that you get distracted by them so easily, but if you start paying attention to your cell phone more than you pay attention to your kid, the time you spend with him/her will lack the necessary quality.
It wouldn’t benefit your kid in any way and might even make your kid feel insecure as she/he will feel like she/he is not as interesting as your cell phone to you.
Imagine that your friend is always getting distracted by the messages coming to her/his phone and she/he is focusing on a technological device when you are there trying to talk to her/him. Now imagine how a little kid in the early stages of his/her mental development might get affected by that.
Therefore, make sure that you concentrate on your kid while you are spending time with him/her. If your cell phone or any other device keeps getting you distracted, just turn them off.
As you can see, the possible actions you can take to spend quality time with your kid are very simple.
All you have to do is to try bonding with your child, have face-to-face or verbal interactions, show your love, do the chores, cook and eat meals with him/her, try crafting, let him/her pick an activity for you to do together, have a special ritual with him/her, encourage positive behavior and avoid technological devices while spending time with him/her.
Even in you might not be able to do everything listed in this post, try to implement at least a few of these so that the time you spend with your kid won’t go to waste. Quality time requires quality interactions with your kid. Not silence.