Quality Time with Your Child

Working parents spend a lot of energy trying to make up for their absence from their children. Research has shown that both the quality and quantity of time parents spend with their children are important.

If you interact with your child, actively listening to him, talking with him, and keeping it pleasant, that’s quality time. Children need some quality time with their parents every day.

You can turn scattered moments during a typical day into quality time by following these guidelines:

  • Talk with your child during the drive to and from child-care.
  • Include your child in adult activities such as shopping, cooking, and home repair. As long as your make him feel important or even helpful, you are giving your child quality time.
  • When you first get home from work, try to snuggle with your kids for 5 minutes. (Giving them the first 30 minutes, as some experts suggest, is usually impractical unless you are breast-feeding.) Then give them something to do and look after yourself. You probably had a more stressful day than they did, and you may need to regroup, as well as prepare dinner.
  • Make dinner a pleasant, unhurried time with the TV off.
  • Use the 30 minutes before bedtime to discuss your child’s day with him, at his pace. End with your usual bedtime ritual.

If you’re providing some of this quality contact every day, you’re doing great.

A common mistake of working parents is to think that bed sharing is quality time. This isn’t a good choice. If your child is asleep in your bed, we could call this neutral time. If your child is awake and crying, it’s aggravating time. If you want to provide extra quality time with your child, set aside some special half days on the weekend for child-centered activities.

Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 1996-02-08
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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