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Time with the kids. Quality or quantity?

Is the quality of time you spend with your kids more important than the quantity?

In short, no. It has long been thought that quality time is what we need to be giving our kids and that is definitely true, but quantity of time is just as important, and therefore, our kids actually need both.

If we are rarely present with our kids, we are not there for all the unplanned moments that matter. You cannot 'seize the moment' if you are not there to do the seizing. Having said that, it is not realistic to dedicate every moment to our kids. So how can we get the balance right?

Firstly, there is nothing wrong in parents needing some time 'kid free', as there is nothing wrong with kids needing some time 'parent free' either. Kids thrive when given opportunities to be independent from their parents, be that in their playing, or by having other adults as their care givers, and parents who allow themselves a break, tend to be happier and therefore more committed parents.

Quantity of time though, is only worthwhile if it is quality time. Being physically present, and actually being present, are two different things. Quality time means focussed time - time that is solely dedicated to your child, so no phones, emails or other distractions and this can be hard to achieve when life is busy. Just 30 minutes a day however, can make all the difference - as long as you have some quality time planned that also is larger in quantity.

For many. this is where having something planned to do on the weekend or school holidays is a great idea, because when you have school age kids, there isn't always much time during the week.

If you have younger children, you might feel like you spend a lot of time with them already, but it is important to make sure that you are giving them some focussed time each day.

Focussed time is helpful in promoting good self-esteem, leading to happier, more resilient children, which means that they will be happier having some independent time and means that you can grab some time for yourself.

So, quality and quantity of time are as important as each other, they both serve an important purpose, however, when you are short for time, make it quality but ensure that you schedule in a good amount of quantity when you can.

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