What is the quality of the time you spend with your children?

Children Time! The experts all say that the best thing to spend on your children is your time. Nevertheless, toys have become a substitute for time spent with children today. How much money is spent on children’s toys each year? How many parents do you see who try to buy their kid’s affections with toys? Children are inundated with toys, video games, I-Pods, and countless other throw-away items. We bury our kids with an avalanche of toys and mindless distractions. The toys and the interest in the toys do not seem to last as long as the batteries. Once upon a time, children if they were good got a special toy at Christmas or on their birthday. Today, every day is toy day for kids. I have seen friends who have children with so many toys you can barely walk through their houses. Many motorcycle clubs have a ride each year called “Toys for Tots” to buy toys for any children who do not have enough. However, the real problem is too many toys for children. Too many toys and not enough time with our children!

Have you noticed that kids seem more angry (witness the increasing school violence) today. They are certainly getting fatter (due in some small part to all the toys they have that prevent them from getting real exercise). I see young kids riding down the street on motorized skate boards and motorized scooters instead of pedaling or pushing a regular skate board. They are inevitably overweight or obese. Computer sports games and other on-line competitive games have replaced real sports for many kids. Of course, there are those kids whose parents are grooming them for the NFL or NBA or NHL and these poor kids get to go to so many sports events they lose track. Followed by the inevitable coach parent, they will probably learn to hate sports as something that is a duty rather than something you can do for fun. I wonder how many of these sport-aholic parents and children will appreciate exercise for exercise sake or will really enjoy the parent child time spent together? How many of these would be Pro-Stars will still be in good shape when they are in their thirties or say fifties?

Regardless of how much we give our children or how many sporting events we make our children attend, the thing they will remember the most and that will have the most impact on their lives will be the quality of the time we spend with them. Quality time is time spend interacting with our children. This does not mean watching TV with them or even going to their soccer games and baseball games. It is time spent relating to them and sharing parent wisdom, guidance and experience with them. It is time spent camping with your children, roller skating, ice skating, skiing or playing tennis with them. It is time spent reading a story to or with them. It is time spent helping them with their homework or doing chores around the house with them. It is time spent during the entire cycle of your children’s lives from infant to old-age. Parent child time will change as they grow older but it does not diminish in terms of the quality of the interaction that is important.

How much time do you spend doing things with your children, with your grandchildren? Do you read to your children, play games with them, take walks with them? How much quality time do your spend with your children versus just “busy” time? What could you do to increase the quality of the time you spend with your children and with your family? Would this improve your life or their lives or both?

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