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How To Spend Quality Time With Your Child

14 Dec 2023

Quality Time With Kids

Raising a child when you’re working can be extremely challenging, especially as you struggle to make quality time for kids.

Our latest State of the Nation Parenting Survey found that 46% of parents doubted their own parenting skills, while over half (56%) of parents are concerned about the amount of time they have available to spend with their kids (up from 51% in 2022).

Luckily, it’s not about having endless amounts of time – it’s how you spend the time you do have that truly matters. Even as a working parent, there are ways to fill these available moments that will lead to better developmental outcomes and help build resilience.

Let them take the lead

Child-led play is an effective exercise that working parents can implement into their routine. Simply set aside 10-15 minutes every week, where you follow your child’s lead in play and engage with things they're interested in. It means watching your child and responding to what they say or do, building their communication skills and helping them learn how to influence things around them.

It’s important this period is scheduled at the same time every week, so your child can predict when it’s going to happen. This short, reoccurring activity can be beneficial for connecting and building a strong relationship between parent and child.

Prioritise the key moments

Regardless of what age your child is, they’ll always need your support for the key moments. Whether it’s a dentist appointment they’re scared of or they’re needing some comfort following a period of grief - it’s important you prioritise making time for your child in the moments that they need you. Being there for those key times will increase your child’s resilience and be remembered for years to come.

Be fully present

Being fully present means being emotionally, spiritually and physically present for your child. At the end of every day, put aside mobile phones and electronic devices for an hour. Gather as a family and make the time to listen and interact with each other. Simply sitting down and eating a meal together (without any distractions) can strengthen relationships and enhance your family dynamics.

Remember to look after yourself too

The survey also found that 85% of parents are motivated to proactively look after their own health for their kids. Their main reasons are to be a good influence for their children (67%), and to be able to show up for their children (56%). If parents are taking the time to look after their own mental and physical health, they’re better energised and prepared to make the most of the time they have with their kids. It also has the added benefit of role modelling positive behaviours to your children - remember that we’re our children’s biggest role models, so if they see us taking a moment to prioritise our own wellbeing, then they'll be more likely to do it too.

Nathan Wallis is a Neuroscience Educator, nib health insurance parenting expert and regular media commentator. He hosts sold-out learning events for parents up and down the country (and abroad), talking to different stages of child development – including the first 1000 days - and how parents can support their children in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.