Why Spending Time With a Child Is Best For Their Development
Back in the 1970’s a new catch-phrase was being tossed about in the United States: “Quality Time.” With the big changes in the American family and financial life, parents had less time to spend with their kids. So, in order to try to gloss over this loss, the idea of “quality time” was launched.
While it is better to spend some time in constructive activity with your child rather than spend no time at all, there is no replacement for spending “quantity time” with your child. Although the average child in the United States spends up to four hours a day in front of assorted media such as television and video games, those same children spend less than 30 minutes a day in any form of communication with their fathers.
I like to think that spending time with kids creates two realities: “The Trust Bank” and “The Magnet.”
The Trust Bank
Even with all the obligations you have as a parent pulling you at you, you must find ways to spend more time with your kids. By doing so, you will be building up the “trust bank” in your children.
When your children are young, you control their lives. Their emotional lives are easy for you to see and understand. As they grow older, children will push away from their parents just a bit. By spending time with young children, you are creating memories and positive feelings in them. When the push-back time of adolescence comes along, these hours of time have built up a cushion of trust within your child. You will be drawing against this “trust bank” of positive memories to settle future turbulent waters. Positive adolescent development starts in childhood.
Study after study confirms that teenagers still rate their parents as their number one source of moral guidance. Rather than push and pull to get information from your child who is facing a difficult issue, let time spent with your teen create the magnet that draws out their concerns or issues. A parent who spends a lot of time in even the most informal of settings will eventually hear, “Can I ask you something?” from their tween or teen.
All relationships take time to develop. This is true for good friends and good families. Your children are young for a very short time and they will develop into adults with or without you. If you want them to be healthy and well-balanced adults, do not let your hectic schedule keep you from being a part of this development. Cut back where you need to in order to be present to your children.