Dancing Between Quality Time and Quantity Time

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Photo by Gracey, 2000, MorgueFile.com

Oh, what an overused expression–How Time Flies. But it is so true–especially in the lives of our children. One day they are babies, and then in no time at all, they’re in school, then college, and beyond.

In every family, there is a certain ‘dance’ we do with our children. Sometimes it has to do with dancing around the time we spend with them.

From the time I was bringing up my children, until now, when my children are bringing up their own, I read and heard about the necessity of spending “quality” time with your sons or daughters. As if we could pick and choose the “quality” time.

However, it is my strong belief that children need the “quantity” of our time, too. In fact, I often believe that the quantity of time is the most important.

Quantity of time means we’re there as much as possible. Quantity of time means our children are used to us “being there.” And that means they feel more secure. Think about a young child’s attachment to a doll or stuffed animal. Some children will never leave them behind no matter where they go, because they feel secure with the toy. And without it, they are unhappy. “Quality” time isn’t something they accept with a beloved treasure.

Think of the mind of a child. For example, when you offer him or her a bag of candy, do they want just one quality piece? They may take one piece if that’s all they’re allowed (I know, I know–just an example. Too much sugar is not good for them either.) But what I mean is that in a child’s heart, he/she wants quantity.

Children need to see that we enjoy them, that we will protect them, that we love them—-all the time, not just on some specific occasion that suit us. In my opinion, a danger of this “quality’ time thing is that we, as parents, are likely to overcompensate on these occasions, maybe out of guilt. We buy them things they don’t really need, when what they really want is our presence.

Time does indeed go by quickly. We don’t want to look back and wish we’d spent more time with our children. We want to do it now.

Copyright 2016 Kaye Hinckley

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