As parents, we all spend huge amounts of time with our children. A question that’s been on my mind recently is how much of the time I spend with my kids is quality time?
It was this blog post on one of my favourite blogs Mumofthreeworld that got me thinking. In the post, Sarah, the author, admits she wants to continue driving her 12-year-old son to school because of the conversations they have during the journeys.
It was something I could really relate to. For some reason, the kids and I have had some of our most profound and serious chats while travelling from A-B.
My eldest daughter, Helen, has opened up about issues she’s had at school or told funny stories about what other kids have done. My youngest, Izzy, has told me in great detail about what goes on at her pre-school.
These moments don’t solely happen when in a car. I find quality experiences happen quite unexpectedly. It can come when playing a board game or when reading to the children. They also don’t always happen when we make the greatest effort to spend time with each other as a family.
Like most families we go to the trouble of taking the children out on trips to educate and entertain them. I, for instance, absolutely love taking the kids to visit the Natural History and Science Museums in London. The kids do get a lot out of these experiences, but is the time spent on these trips quality?
A big day trip up to London involves a lot of preparation. The kids needs constant reminding about road safety, they’ll repeatedly ask for sweets, forget to say please and thank you, need the toilet at an inconvenient moment etc. It’s all part of the day trip experience and can be tiring for mum and dad.
I think this is a different sort of quality experience. The kids learn to be independent, get exposed to different ideas, learn to ask questions, they learn to read, they get to see things they haven’t done before.
Real quality time, however, seems to just come naturally without major effort. It could happen in a car journey, on the kids’ trampoline in the garden or while going for a short walk around the block. I don’t think quality time, you know, the kind of moment you will remember forever, requires a huge amount of effort. I also think the children appreciate it when you simply stop what you’re doing, turn your phone off and sit down with them.
What do you think? Where do the precious moments take place with your family? Are they in the car and the kitchen or some exotic location? Please leave a comment below with your ideas.