Spending time with kids – Quantity or Quality?

What is the ideal time you need to be spending with kids? Or rather, taking into consideration our busy lives, what is the minimum amount of time you need to spend with your kids? These questions haunt a lot of parents who feel that they are not spending enough time with their kids.

The Economist Report

While the Economist in a 2017 report mentioned that the time spent by parents with their kids has on an average doubled since 1960 (except France) in the developed nations, there exists no similar report about developing nations like India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, etc.

Economist Report on Time Spent by Mothers with Kids in Developed Nations
Economist Report on Time Spent by Mothers with Kids in Developed Nations

Situation in Developing Nations

However, going by ground realities, the booming economies and the opening of new career choices for the rising middle class in these countries do not paint a very optimistic picture. Increasingly, working parents have very little time to spend with their kids in these countries.

What does child science say about it?

I did a bit of digging around on the Internet to see what eminent research suggests on the topic.

Two studies stood out.

One was a Washington Post report in 2015 that cited the research done by two sociologists from Toronto, Canada. Mellisa Milkie and Kai Nomaguchi, published in their findings on studies done trying to correlate ‘time spent by parents with kids aged 3 to 11 years‘ with ‘the outcomes on the children‘.

The SHOCKING answer is NONE.

The second one was reported by The Guardian in 2017. This study focussed on fathers of children between 3 and 11 years old. The conclusion of this study stated that the number of hours fathers spent with their kids was not important. What influenced their kids more was the ‘amount of enjoyment fathers felt’ in the company of their kids.

Parents spending time with kids
Parents spending time with kids

Does ‘quality’ time spent with kids matter more than ‘quantity’?

Absolutely YES!

Both the researches highlighted above point to the single most important factor when it comes to spending time with kids – Quality of time spent matters, not the Quantity.

You can discover the magic of spending quality time with your kids by trying some of these simple tips

  • Helping kids with their homework.
  • Empowering children to discover hobbies that can turn into lifelong passions.
  • Shower them with love even in your absence – Ex: keep a note, expressing your love, in their school snack box.

Remember, 10 minutes of your wholesome presence makes a much greater impact than being with your kids the whole day without real involvement.

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