What is it in your House? Quality or Quantity when it comes to Spending Time with Your Children?

It wasn't as much about the cookies, but rather spending quality time with my child.
It wasn't as much about the cookies, but rather spending quality time with my child.

As parents, we spend a lot of time with our children, but I sometimes have to ask myself if the time I spend with them is truly quality time. 

One child is with me most of the day. My kids are usually around when I’m cooking dinner or unloading the dishwasher.  I’m talking to them, but I may be saying “Is that right?” a time or two without even knowing for sure what I was responding to.  I think it may have been “Batgirl is Commissioner Gordon’s daughter,” but I’m not totally confident that it wasn’t “Your bottom is big, Mommy!” instead.

Not going to lie. I zone out on occasion because little 3-year-old speak can be monotonous and repetitive.  Eight-year-olds can come up with some tall tales, like zombies attacking on the school playground. 

Parents often have a lot on their minds, not to mention many things on to-do lists.  I still have clothes spinning for the third time in the dryer because I am choosing to write this column instead of taking the time to fold my laundry right now.  Parenting is not only a privilege; it’s also a job. It is sometimes hard to find the balance to do that job and everything else that you also need to do.

I’m guilty of that because I work at home and have writing deadlines.  It’s certainly not full-time, and I have a lot more freedom than parents who work outside the home, but I have writing commitments. This column for the N and O is one of them. 

I typically write my post over the weekend because my deadline is Monday.

It’s not uncommon for me to be on one computer, with one child on a laptop and another on “Smarty,” our Thinkpad that we named in order for me to get some of these writing commitments complete.  

I am fooling myself sometimes into thinking that we are all together when we are doing our own things, but, in reality, I know there is nothing further than the truth. We are all cohabitating but not connecting. Our time together is not always quality.

Electronics were banned for my son this weekend because we felt he wasn’t trying to do his best at a sporting event early Saturday morning. He wanted to lounge around and watch TV instead of going to the game. When he got there, my own 78-year-old mom could have run faster than him. He was taking a leisurely stroll while his teammates were running as hard as they could to catch flags on the football field.  We don’t care if he is a good athlete, but we felt he was letting his teammates down by not participating or trying his best. To teach that lesson, we banned electronics, including television, because it is about the only thing that gets his attention these days.

So while he spent some time with his dad, I took a cookie break and had my own prolonged break from electronics.

My daughter and I didn’t make homemade cookies from scratch, but we spent some quality time together in the kitchen nonetheless. 

I carved out some undivided attention just for her. 

I think we all had a lesson learned this weekend.   A few minutes of quality time with a child is better than having a lot of quantity of time that is meaningless.

I plan to pencil more of those times on my calendar.


Be sure to pop over to the HinesSight Blog this week. I have a great giveaway that may be perfect for spending  some quality time with your theatre loving child.