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5 Ways to Spend Quality Time with Your Child


Most of us know it’s crucial to our family’s well-being to spend quality time with our children. It’s unlikely you became a parent because you love cleaning up messes you didn’t make or enjoy the never-ending saga of figuring out what to make for dinner.

More likely, you wanted to have fun with your kids! You wanted to raise good people, make memories, and enjoy a life together. The realities of life, however, can make it difficult to feel like you’re achieving those goals. It seems like there’s never enough time.

The good news is, quality time with your children often happens in the most unexpected and simple ways. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to plan or prepare for.

Why Is Quality Time So Important?

Quality time individually with your child and together as a family helps children feel more connected to you and the family team as a whole. When you spend quality time with your child, they ultimately feel safer, more secure in their relationship with you, more confident in themselves, and ready to learn in the classroom.

Quality time also allows you to become more tuned-in to your children’s personalities and interests. It allows you to create an environment for activities and experiences where your children want to spend more time with you because they know you’re interested in what they like and care about.


What Does Quality Time with Family Mean?

Generally, quality time with your child means time that is meaningful and focuses on strengthening your connection as a family. It involves being attentive and actively participating in the experience.

Scrolling on your phone while sitting in the living room with your child watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie or Frozen for the hundredth time doesn’t count. Doing a Mad Libs together while you wait for your coffee order or creating any sort of family ritual, big or small, is more likely something your child will remember and hold dear as they grow up.

Quality time can look different in different relationships, and it will most certainly change as your children grow older. Roughhousing and frozen yogurt may be what your six-year-old loves. But give it ten years and something else will have superseded rolling around on the living room floor. The frozen yogurt will probably still be preferred though.

For kids that are creatively inclined, you can encourage their creativity and imagination through playing games, reading together, painting, building, crafts, or photography. So long as you’re doing the activity together and showing your creative side, your vulnerability, your willingness to try something new, you’ll be on the right path.

Creative activities have the added benefit of boosting cognitive function and improving memory and emotional well-being, which we all need a lot more of.

More to Explore: Family Team

How to Spend Quality Time with Your Child

1. Make something together.

spend quality Time with your child -cook as a family

Cooking with kids is a great time to discuss your child’s interests, their friends, and what’s going on at school. Having a hands-on activity like cooking a meal or even just a snack allows the conversation to flow more easily. The distraction of having something to do with our hands tends to allow all of us to let our guard down and share.

Easy prep meals like a taco bar or DIY pizza night make cooking with younger chefs a lot more approachable on otherwise busy weeknights. Shredding cheese with your young one is not nearly as messy as mixing flour and cracking eggs … usually.

If you have a passion for food and your kids start to show a passion for food and cooking, talk about where food comes from, besides the grocery store.

If all else fails, just put some music on and have a dance party while you teach your child to fold in the cheese.

In general, kids love to know that their parents care about their interests. They also love to know about their parents’ interests. If you’re not sure how to get the discussion going, read our post Top 5 Conversation Starters for Kids 4 to 8 Years Old.

If cooking together isn’t for you, try building something, crafting, gardening, or fixing things around the house. Anything that engages your hands and perhaps offers the chance to pass on some of your wisdom all count as great quality time with your child.

2. Play together.

Spend quality time with your child - play together

It’s true that many of us don’t enjoy playing with our kids. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and more common than you think. If your parents didn’t play with you, you may not have a model of how to do it.

Still, playing with parents as well as peers is key to building thriving brains, bodies, and social bonds in children. According to research, play can improve a child’s ability to organize, be sociable, and manage emotions.

Play even supports a child with their language, math, and social skills. Playing is also a great way for children and adults to manage stress! Play is crucial throughout life, no matter your age.

Good thing we have the internet now and there are endless ideas out there on how to find games and ideas for play that both parent and child can enjoy.

3. Practice active listening.

spend quality time with your child - practice active listening

When your child is in the mood to talk, be sure you’ve honed your active listening skills. This body of skills includes being fully present, paying attention to nonverbal communication, maintaining eye contact, and repeating what you hear.

By listening to your child and repeating back what they say, you’ll help them improve their communication skills and express themselves effectively. After listening for a while, instead of responding with your ideas or solutions to their problem, try starting with “What I hear you saying is XYZ. Is that correct?” Then allow them to respond.

If you got it wrong, they’ll have an opportunity to adjust and try again, which helps them feel understood and respected. You’ll strengthen your relationship by showing them you’re listening and care about what they have to say.

For more tips on improving your conversations with your child, read 5 Tips for Better Conversations With Your Preteen.

4. Spend one-on-one time with your kids.

Important social skills for kids to learn -cooperating

If you have more than one child, it can be challenging to carve out individual time with each one. Even a few moments can make a big difference though. Spend quality time with your child for a few moments in the morning before siblings wake up.

While on my most recent trip to visit my grandchildren, I was awakened by the quick pitter-patter of little feet down the hallway as my six-year-old grandson, Tim, was going into the kitchen (which he does every morning). I listened to him as he told his mom about a dream he had and some things he was looking forward to doing that day in school.

It was obvious he loved having her all to himself for those few precious minutes before his little sister woke up. Mom answered all his queries about when they could go camping again and why some dogs howl at night. She also gave him tape and a red heart sticker when he wanted to post his most recent drawing on the refrigerator door.

This is one kind of engagement that builds strong relationships and bonds in a family.

If mornings are too hectic in your family, say goodnight individually with a few minutes of story time or an open invitation to talk about anything they want. Right before bed is often a window of opportunity for kids to share what’s going on after the stresses of their day. They’ll soon cherish the opportunity to talk if you consistently make yourself available.

If you have the means, weekend trips with just one parent and child can be exceptional bonding opportunities.

5. Use your time in the car.

spend quality time with your child - use your time in the car

A road trip isn’t just about the destination; it’s about the process of getting there too. Time in the car can be the perfect time for fun with your child. While tablets or phones are incredibly convenient to occupy kids for a time, put some boundaries on their use, and have a few games ready.

Find (or make) your favorite road-trip playlist and sing your heart out while they get a little music education. License plate games are a classic. Punch-buggy will be infinitely harder now than it was in your childhood.

Search for interesting landmarks. See if they know how to read a map. Stop at the amazing and ridiculous roadside attractions that exist all over the US. These are the things your children will likely remember more than anything else. If not, you’ll at least have plenty of weird and wonderful pictures.

Even when you’re not on a road trip, commuting (often in the family car) is a huge part of our lives. Creating a few rituals around travel time can become a key tool in achieving your original goal of having fun, raising good people, making memories, and enjoying your life together.

Spend Quality Time with Your Child to Set Them Up for Success

When you spend quality time with your child individually and with the rest of the family, you’ll be fostering a strong parent-child relationship and helping your child learn skills that will benefit them for the rest of their life.

For more ways to engage with your kids, take a look at our free download 10 Ways to Engage with Your Kids.

Free Resource Guide

10 Ways to Engage

Practical strategies to make big connections through small conversations

10 Ways to Engage Resource Guide

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Tamie Neu

Tamie is the curriculum director for Raising Families. Bringing nearly 30 years of teaching experience, she saw firsthand that parent leadership is the most vital force in a child’s life. She has three sons and currently resides in West Texas.

In her free time she loves reading non-fiction and playing with her grandson. Read full bio >>