The Importance of Spending Quality Time with Your Child
I think we all understand the feeling of not having enough time. Before Savannah was born, when she was still inside her mother’s stomach, a coworker told me that once she was born, my time would not be my own anymore. I believed him to a certain extent, but I also thought I would be able to figure out a way to still fit everything in. I was wrong. Your child comes first. You sleep a lot less, so you are really tired when you do get a free moment. At first, it was just about surviving, literally, just surviving the day, and then doing it all over again. Then there’s a few months where you hope you can get a straight four hours of sleep during your spouse’s shift. Eventually, you will start to develop a routine of very little sleep, work, then taking over with your child, dinner, bath time, your child’s bedtime, then your bedtime. Let’s pause for a moment and just focus on the part of your routine where you spend time with your child. How are you going to spend that time? What activities are you going to do? Will you be multitasking? Are you going to turn on Frozen and then fall down the TikTok rabbit hole? Or will you use those moments as an opportunity for quality time with your child.
Today I want to take a look at the benefits of quality time with your child, tips on how to spend quality time with your child and give some examples of engaging activities for toddlers. These blogs are just as much for educating myself as they could be for a curious soul out there who stumbles on to The Fox and the Bee blog. I have always been selfish when it comes to what I consider “my time.” I don’t mean that I want to be alone. I mean I don’t want to waste “my time.” I get these ideas that I want to be really good at a particular “skill” or “thing,” and sometimes I just decide that I really want to focus my time on that. I have wanted to write, learn another language, run marathons, and that list goes on and on. Well, all those “skills” take dedication. They take practice. Mostly they just take a lot of time.
Well luckily for me, I was able to let go of my hobbies and projects, or put them on hold, because I realized that I was actually WAY more fulfilled by spending time with Savannah. As a parent, you are fortunate enough to be around this tiny creature every day and watch them grow up. All you want to do is spend your time with them, watching them, and hopefully you get to hear a laugh and see a big smile at least a dozen times a day. I admit, in the beginning I was multitasking. A few moments on my phone, a few with Savannah, checking the mail, back to Savannah, what’s on HBO tonight, then back to Savannah. Then I started realizing that I wanted to give her my full undivided attention. I’m not really sure why, I just did.
I like to say Alex “gets” the privilege of spending all day with Savannah. I am 100% aware of just how challenging that would be, and I fully admit that I could not do it. I think it takes a special person to be able to be a stay at home parent. We always say, “who has to put Savannah to bed tonight?” And I like to say, “I get to put her to sleep tonight.” So, when I started researching this topic, I was very happy (although not surprised at this point) to see that there actually are benefits to spending quality time with your children.
All I really know about my upcoming blogs at this point is that I want to do one on the benefits of reading to your children. I want to do some digging and see what second level stats I can find. I am not sure on what is coming after that, but please feel free to message us on Instagram with your ideas!
Wednesday February 3rd – The Benefits of Reading to Your Children
Wednesday February 17th – Unknown
Wednesday March 3rd – Unknown
Wednesday March 17th – Unknown
The benefits of spending quality time with your child
First, lets talk about quality time. I want to say “define” it, but I’m not going to get that textbook on you. I just want to get out there what I mean when I say, “quality time.” Quality time to me means spending time with your child doing something they want to do and giving them your undivided attention. If your child is too young to tell you what he/she wants to do then you simply do something you know he/she like doing. For example, my daughter is 1 and she enjoys playing with her toys, looking in the mirror, or crawling around. She likes it even more when I play and engage with her during those activities. So, putting down your devices and focusing completely on your child for a period of time.
Here are three quick benefits from an article on the importance of spending quality time with your children:
- Children are less likely to have behavior issues at home and school.
- Children are less likely experience drug and alcohol use.
- Children can show signs of higher mental and emotional intelligence.
Another article by Peaceful Parent indicated quality time can deepen our own empathy for our child. We often feel a greater understanding of what they are feeling. We share in their excitement and almost feel like we are imagining right along with them. I know this happens to me when I am playing with Savannah, although I wasn’t really realizing it at the time.
Peaceful Parent also stated whining voices and stressed out temper tantrums start to transform into strong, confident, and calm conversations when exposed to quality time. Your children understand you are giving them your attention. It’s wild to me that Savannah is already displaying this. I cannot think of a time when she was whining while I was playing with her. She only cries out when I am multitasking. It’s almost like she is simply saying, “give me your attention!”
In the end, the benefits of spending quality time with your children are probably limitless. You can start to see how not spending quality time with your young child can lead to an unwanted behavior in an older child. As a parent, you might also just wish you had more time to spend with your child once they start getting older. Maybe you realize you don’t have what felt like unlimited time with them anymore. If you didn’t build a habit of spending that time with them as a young child, it is going to be a lot more difficult later.
Tips on how to spend quality time with your child
Since we now know the benefits of quality time with your child and just how important that quality time is, lets look at a few fun suggestions for how to spend your time together.
Create a routine
Creating a routine is beneficial to you and your child. The routine gives your child something to look forward to. You can give the time a name and get excited when you say, “want to play XYZ?” Or “it’s almost play time!”
Make the time meaningful
Use your quality time to express that you love your child. I could probably write an entire blog on the benefits of actually saying, “I love you,” to your child. You can also use this time to express that you are proud of your child, maybe that they are really good at something, like reading or evening correctly putting a triangle block through the triangle hole. Whatever you are doing, make sure to express and physically demonstrate that this time is meaningful to you.
Really try to put down your phone and turn off the T.V. for a period of time. That isn’t to say all day. It helps to have Frozen on while you are trying to cook or catch your breath for fifteen minutes. Savannah and I Facetime with the family and Alex and I take a LOT of pictures. She is obviously seeing our phones. But try to make a rule of no devices when you are in quality time mode. That could be fifteen minutes or an hour. Whatever time you are setting aside to focus your undivided attention with your child.
Reinforce positive behavior
I am a BIG believer in reinforcing positive behavior. This will educate your child and help you grow and develop a strong bond with your child. You will feel it as well. That bond is going to help you get through tough times down the road. Respect is not a given because you are a parent or because you are an adult. Respect is earned.
Lots of laughter
Quality time is the best time to laugh with your child. When Savannah is letting out one of those massive belly laughs of hers, I can’t help but laugh right along with her. I can literally feel my face start to smile and it’s uncontrollable. That is the moment of the day where I am the happiest, and I’m not even really thinking about it. Laughter is contagious and it’s truly special to be present when a toddler is laughing. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The first thing I do when I get off work every day is head downstairs and see if I can get a quick laugh out of my little girl.
Engaging activities for toddlers
In doing my research I came across this fun blog by How We Learn with a ton of fun sensory activities for toddlers. I have the link right here, but I am going to list of my favorites here for you. I encourage you to check it out as well.
- Water Bead Sensory Bag – Putting beads in zip lock bag with water
- Colored Ice – die some water and freeze
- Wet paint art project – get out a sheet and jars of finger paint
- Rainbow pasta – different colored rubber bands
- Peek-a-boo sensory board – board with fun things hidden behind a cover
- Rainstick – homemade or purchased
I hope you enjoyed reading this one today! Alex will be doing another Insta LIVE next week on Thursday 1/28 where she will be interviewing Taylor from “That Mother Lifestyle” and you will not want to miss it. Check that out and please let us know in the comment section of Instagram or Facebook how you spend your quality time with your little ones. Thank you for reading!