Quality Time is my own personal love language, so it is the one I understand the best--at least from my own perspective. It is the third love language discussed in The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell.
All children love attention from parents. We all know the rules of children that have been spouted to us for at least the last 10 years. To a child, negative attention is better than no attention at all (page 60). Quality time can sound a bit intimidating to some people, but it is really quite simple. Quality time equals undivided attention (page 60). You don't have to go somewhere special (page 61).
Each child will benefit from one-on-one time with parents. If you have multiple children this can be a challenge. If you make it a priority, you can do it. Make a conscience effort to spend time with your children (page 65). You might even need to write it on your calendar. If that is what it takes to accomplish time with your child, do it. But also schedule things like trips or schedule mealtime where the family is all sitting together.
While with your child, be sure you have eye contact (page 62).
Here are some ideas for what to do for quality time:
- Have meals together
- Go camping
- Wash dishes together
- Go for walks together
- Golf/play catch/or other sports
- Talk with each other: Quality conversation is an important facet to quality time. A great time to do this is at bedtime. Brayden and I cuddle on the couch each evening to talk. His love language is quality time. We talk throughout the day, but this is the time of day he will open up to me. This is when I get most information from him. Maybe he is delaying bedtime :)
- Read stories
- Before you start a project, spend 15 minutes with your child.
- Take the child with you to run errands
- Have your child help you with chores. This is when a lot of the great conversations will evolve from.
- Cook together
- Have one-on-one outings with child--a date night
- Ask open ended questions (not questions that are answered with yes or no)
- Play with child
- Sing together or do art projects together
- Create special traditions of places you and your child go together
- Go for bike rides
- Make bedtime relaxed and longer
- Help with homework
- Scrapbook or put together photo albums
- Look at old photos and talk about them
Remember, what seems urgent now won't even matter in the future. What you do with your children now will matter forever (page 65).
As I mentioned, quality time is my love language. It is also a high love language for Brayden, if not his main love language. If he isn't getting enough time, it shows.
Many of the examples of what to do listed above are quite simple. One of Brayden's favorite things to do with either one of his parents is to run errands with them. I think the most effective thing we do that gets him to talk is our nightly cuddle. If things are rushed and we tell him there isn't time for cuddling, he takes it well, but is emotional the next day. I have only recently started putting the two together.
I want to also touch on something I think is important in the quality time issue. In our busy world, the phrase "quality time" gets tossed around often and many parents seem to believe that they can simply give their children 15 minutes of their undivided attention in the evening and that will be good enough.
As someone who is a quality time person, let me assure you, it isn't. I think if you look at the list of ideas here, these aren't things you schedule for 15 minutes and then walk away. When my husband gets busy with work and with helping other people with things, he makes an effort to spend about 15 minutes just sitting and talking with me. It is a nice gesture, but it is not enough for me to really feel that full love. I understand why he is gone, and they are for important reasons, but I feel the most loved when he spends time with me. I almost think in light of what "quality time" has come to mean in our culture, the "quality time" love language should be changed to "time."
One of my favorite church leaders, Elder M. Russell Ballard, has said, "Quality time is a direct function of quantity time--and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both."
This is why things like doing chores together, going for walks together, cooking, gardening, etc. are all powerful tools to accomplish quality time. These tasks take time. As you spend time together, that quantity time turns into quality.
So as you strive for quality, seek out the quantity. The quality will come from that.
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