Research has shown that family quality time often contributes to a child’s positive upbringing. However, with our busy schedules, this is something that is lacking in today’s families. Create family quality time again to help build a happy home.
A study published by the Canadian Social Trends showed that workers spent an average of 45 minutes less per day with family members in 2005 than they did 20 years ago. What this translates into is that the more time you spend at work, the less time you have with your family.
Spending time with the family is important but this is something many of us forget as we are too busy wrapped up in our work, career, personal life and more. So often, we focus too much on the big things rather than the other more important little things in our lives. Before you know it, it could already be too late to do anything about this.
Remember this – time flies! You may think you can put off spending time with your child to another day but by then, your child would have already grown up and you are left wondering what happened to the little girl/boy who looked up to you so much.
Quality Time & Quantity Time
There is a huge difference between quality time and quantity time. If you are spending time “lecturing” your child, you can be sure it won’t be an enjoyable time for him or her. However, if it is time spent doing the things your child enjoys, then even if it is just 15 minutes of it, it will be time that your child appreciates.
Know the meaning of quality time, which translates into communicating with your child in an upbeat and useful manner. Watching TV in silence does not count as quality time. Bonding while watching TV is what makes the difference.
The more family time you spend together, the more close-knit a family becomes. This will result in reducing stress in the household as well as less arguments with each other.
Create These Quality Time
Here are some ways to start incorporating family time in your life:
• Rethink your life
Think of what you would rather have - a happy family or one that is constantly bickering with one another while you hide in the office? Set your priorities straight and start rethinking your life and how you can make the changes to include more family time.
• Give your child the attention he or she deserves
Give your child the attention and interest he or she yearns for. Be positive about your child and be generous with your praises. Let your child help around the household and make sure you praise hard work and effort.
• Learn to make time
Be spontaneous in your life; the last thing you want is for your child to feel as if a scheduled appointment is needed to have your attention! Don’t sweat the small stuff (unwashed dishes, dirty laundry, management presentations, etc) and instead, think of the little but important things such as going to the park with your child, celebrating a birthday, or even singing a song before your child goes to sleep.
• Talk, don’t nag
Don’t spend whatever little time you have with your child nagging. Instead, learn to talk to your child as you would another adult and you could be pleasantly surprised at the reaction you may receive.
Take the effort to find out what is going on in your child’s life – younger children can talk about their friends or school while older children can focus on what’s occurring outside the home or neighbourhood. If possible, ask for opinions. This will make your child feel appreciated, which is exactly the effect you desire.
By Dr Anjli Doshi-Gandhi, Deputy Director-General (Policy),
National Population and Family Development Board Malaysia