Getting enough quality time? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 09-25-2011, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I worry there isn't enough quality time with me and my dd. She's growing up fast, as they all are, but I don't want to look back in a few years and worry/regret not spending enough time with her while she's young. Does that make sense? Anyone else worry about this? 

 

Some days we're barely together at all because of school, work, hobbies, friends, other commitments, early nights etc....would that be okay with you? It doesn't seem right when we live in the same house to be distanced as much as we are. But what's the right balance? Quality time together every day? Or several times a week? And how long for at a time...one hour? more? 

 

I don't have a clue what the right balance is for this, how long and how often quality time should be between parents and kids of school age. What is your opinion on it? I just feel what we're doing at the moment doesn't sit well with me some days.

 

However there are also those days when I want that space and welcome the 'parenting break' too. Then feel guilty because it feels too much time apart when that happens. help.gif

 

By quality time together I mean actually being close physically and engaging in something together, whatever that may be. Not both being home but being in seperate rooms or doing seperate things...which is often how it is. And in the moment that seems fine, we're both enjoying what we're doing 'seperately', but later I feel bad about it and like we are missing time when we could be closer. Especially while she's still young (9).

 

Or am I freaking out about nothing? It never used to cross my mind until recently, I guess because she's getting older and it's sinking in she won't be a kid forever. Do you ever think about it? What's the right balance for you in regards to quality time with your children?


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#2 of 8 Old 09-25-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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I can't define an absolute number of hours per day for quality time, but I think it's fairly natural that some days will be busier than others. If you're really concerned, sometimes it helps to create some routines or rituals. For example, sharing at least one meal together everyday, so you have an opportunity to re-connect. That meal may be afternoon snack at a local cafe in-between school and an extra-curricular, but it's the connection that counts, not the time or place. 

 

As the parent of older teens, I can confirm that the years do fly past. I'm not sure that feeling would be different even if we had lived our lives completely attached at the hip together. I think it's a combination of small routines (eg. family dinners most nights of the week, every Saturday at the hockey arena) and big events (eg. family travel) together that created the quality time that we enjoy looking back on. 

 

 

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#3 of 8 Old 09-26-2011, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I can't define an absolute number of hours per day for quality time, but I think it's fairly natural that some days will be busier than others. If you're really concerned, sometimes it helps to create some routines or rituals. For example, sharing at least one meal together everyday, so you have an opportunity to re-connect. That meal may be afternoon snack at a local cafe in-between school and an extra-curricular, but it's the connection that counts, not the time or place. 

 

As the parent of older teens, I can confirm that the years do fly past. I'm not sure that feeling would be different even if we had lived our lives completely attached at the hip together. I think it's a combination of small routines (eg. family dinners most nights of the week, every Saturday at the hockey arena) and big events (eg. family travel) together that created the quality time that we enjoy looking back on.

 

 

Yeah I agree it is that connection being shared when together. We do eat meals together but often have the tv on..which doesn't equal quality time, the same as watching a movie together I guess. It's still nice being close while eating/watching tv or a movie but there isn't that connection because we're distracted. I definately feel we need that time and re-connection at least once during the day. I'm going to try to fit in a game at the table before bedtime or after school/before dinner, as well as light reading together for a start on weekdays.

 

I probably should have wrote the first post differently, asking what 'quality time' type of things others do with their kids and when?
 

 


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#4 of 8 Old 09-26-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by samy23 View Post

I probably should have wrote the first post differently, asking what 'quality time' type of things others do with their kids and when?
 

 

 

Okay, aside from family meals, daily/weekly activities that come to mind are: 

 

- family readalouds (not so much anymore)

- t.v. or movie night

- washing dishes (if you can believe it - we don't have a dishwasher, so we hand wash our dishes - it's only 15 or 20 minutes, but it's a good time to talk, play favourite music, listen to a podcast together) 

- walking the dog (after school, dd and I walk her dog and she tells me about her day) 

- walking to/from school together (again, not anymore but we enjoyed it when the kids were younger) 

- DH and DD both love photography and sometimes they will go on photo expeditions together or sit down together at the computer and edit their photos - finding a similar shared passion is fun

 
They aren't "big production" moments in our day - no amazing, complicated crafts or awesome expeditions to a special place or expensive activities. We do those things from time to time, but they tend to be the punctuation that adds a little extra, rather forming the important text of our lives. Mostly, our quality times are just quiet moments of connecting and sharing. 
 

I think some "quality time" rituals and routines grow out of each family's quirks. For example, DD likes to come in while I'm still in bed in the morning and she'll tell me about her dreams. She has these wild, funny dreams and she often remembers them. It's a special, shared moment that we have and I think it could be a little unnatural or forced for another family. 

 

 

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#5 of 8 Old 09-26-2011, 06:36 PM
 
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I would start by turning off the TV to eat. Have dinner as a family a time to actually engage as a family. It is a good time to talk about the day that has past and the day to come tomorrow. Studies also show that families that eat a meal together have a lesser risk that the teenagers will drink, do drugs and have unprotected sex. But that doesn;t include dinners in front of the TV. Turning the TV on during dinner is having a meal at the same time...not having a meal together.

My family ate together, but in front of the TV. We were not very connected as a family at all.

 

other fun family time:

board game night

renting movies together

bi-weekly or monthly "date" with you and your DD where you go out together

finding a shared passion and doing it together

walks (healthy and a connection)

 


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#6 of 8 Old 09-26-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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We eat supper at the kitchen table, and each day DH or I asks "What was your favorite part (of your day)?" and we all take a turn sharing a story of something funny that happened or something that made us happy. Quite often, one of the kids gives the very simple reply of "Right now." That time is really important to them.

 

I walk the kids to and from school, that is a good time to talk. Or when we're all in the car together, DH won't put the radio on and we'll have a conversation then. If the moon roof is open my hair flies out it (so I make it happen more) and the kids laugh and tell me I look like a troll doll. Or we make acronyms out of other cars license plates. it doesn't have to be deep, meaningful stuff.


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#7 of 8 Old 09-27-2011, 06:10 AM
 
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On the days I work 12 hrs, I spend those 3 I have with them wisely. I do homework with them, eat dinner with them, sit on the back porch and talk with them. When they shower I sit in the bathroom and listen to them. At bed time I lay down beside them, read them a book and rub their little backs til they fall asleep. The time I missed isn't a big deal. The time I have with them, is all theirs. I wait til they're asleep before I start to unwind. DH knows to just let us be. I need them more than they need me I'm sure. They're just nice enough to let me have them still.
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#8 of 8 Old 09-27-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colsxjack View Post

 

other fun family time:

board game night

renting movies together

bi-weekly or monthly "date" with you and your DD where you go out together

finding a shared passion and doing it together

walks (healthy and a connection)

 


How did I forget to list playing board games (and card games)? Last month, we were at the cottage for a week and DD discovered Trivial Pursuit. (The cottage is a bit of time capsule, with all sorts of books and games from various eras "donated", i.e. dumped, there). Although we played many board games with the kids (Carcassone and Settlers of Catan are favourites), she had never played Trivial Pursuit before. We had a hoot - partly because we played the original version and the questions/answers inspired all sorts of commentary and conversation.  

 

 

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