Parenting Perspective: What 'quality time' really means

July 26, 2010

It's not on my list of my favorite past-times, but it is quality time spent nonetheless. I would actually prefer to be outside tossing around a football (and sometimes we get to do that as well!)

Regardless, if its video games or sports, it's still one-on-one time I get to spend with my son and, I found out, this is good news.

Doctor Leena Dev with Saint Christopher's Hospital for Children says it really doesn't matter the activity, just as long as Nicholas and I are bonding.

"It tells the child that the parent is interested in them and interested in their life," Dr. Dev said.

Doctor Dev says even 15 minutes a day of quality time with your child can go a long way towards enhancing self-worth and reinforcing a parent-child relationship.

However, it has to involve mutual participation and conversation. Shuttling your son or daughter to soccer practice or rehearsal isn't necessarily quality time because it doesn't always allow for a shared give and take.

"Even if they're doing the dishes together, a little pat on the shoulder, a 'how was your day today,' a 'thank you for being so helpful," said Dr. Dev.

She also says if you have more than one child, you should find opportunities to spend some down-time with each child individually.

Also keep in mind: the older a child gets, the more challenging it can be to find mutual activities you both enjoy. The trick is to discover what interests them, and somehow make it your own.

Even if it's playing video games.

"You can read books with children, you can discuss books with older kids, you can have a book club," Dr. Dev said.

A surprising new study out says today's working parents are doing a far better job of spending time with their kids compared to parents of earlier generations.

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