There is a debate over what is more important: the quality or the quantity of time you spend with your children. Study after study has come to the conclusion that it is quality of time. Spending 10 hours a day watching T.V. with your children is a great quantity of time, but the time spent is more detrimental than helpful to their lives. It is the time we spend interacting with our children that is really valuable—talking with them at the dinner table, reading books to them, answering questions they have about life.
Before giving up on seeking more time with your children, however, realize that true quality time only comes when there has been a quantity of time. Quality of time comes when your children feel comfortable with you. You can’t largely ignore them for the week and then expect to have 30 minutes of quality time. True quality time often comes at unexpected moments (e.g., in the car, or while shopping). Often, I have found with my children that what I think is going to be a great time they find unimpressive and what I find unimpressive they find important. We can spend the day at the zoo walking around looking at some of God’s most amazing creatures and at the end of the day what they really remembered and were excited about was getting to pull the trigger on the gas pump on the way there.
So the solution seems to be two-fold. First, look to include your children more in your lives. Even if it is just a trip to the store, take a child with. Second, when you are with them seek more quality activities. Put away your laptop and smartphone, turn off the T.V., and have fun with your children. For me and my boys, I have found that whacking them with a pillow or shooting them with a Nerf gun usually starts a pretty good time. Often, simply laying on the floor invites a dog pile and subsequent rough housing.
by Jeremy Sprouse
Jeremy Sprouse has been married to Erynn since 1999. They have six children. Jeremy preaches for the Patrick St. Church of Christ in Dublin, TX and is the author of To Train Up a Knight.