Quality time is where you give each child at least 15 minutes special time every day – to play or chat or do something you can enjoy together, just the two of you.
It’s easy to get so bogged down with the tasks you have to do, to forget how important it is to spend time and have fun with your children. If you honestly feel that you can’t give each child fifteen minutes, because you’re too busy, think – why did you have children? When you looked into the eyes of your newborn baby, I’m guessing you didn’t say, “I can’t wait to pop you in front of the TV – so I can get on with all the jobs around the house!”
You’ve probably heard the saying children spell love T.I.M.E.
Secondly, plan ahead so your child knows exactly when their special time will be.
If you have more than one child, find something your other child can do on their own during that time. Older children may have their time after the younger one’s gone to bed.
If one child keeps disturbing you tell them they’ll lose one minute off their special time every time they interrupt.
If the phone rings – leave it. So your child knows they’re important.
If it helps, set a timer for 15 minutes. And at the end say ‘that’s the end of your special time today, but we’ll do it again tomorrow.’ You can put a game safely away and play it again the next day.
And if one parent isn’t around during the week, they can plan their quality time at the weekend.
Finally, during special time, ask your child what they’d like to do, and don’t direct their play, criticise or give advice.
Your child may want to chat, play a game, read a book together, do pretend play, rough and tumble, play football – anything that involves both of you.
If you really wouldn’t enjoy something, tell them what’s off limits. However this is your time to enter into their world. So be as flexible as you can.
Let them lead the game. And no matter what they say or do, don’t criticise them or give advice.
Just play, listen, and make their time with you fun and safe to talk.
And remember –to smile, laugh, be happy and have fun.
So the 3 tips to plan quality time with your children are:
- Remember it’s important for your relationship, your child’s behaviour, for fun and for social skills.
- Plan ahead so your child knows exactly when their special time will be.
- Ask your child what they’d like to do, and don’t direct their play, criticise or give advice.
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