We all want to spend time with our children and make them feel loved and appreciated. We love them and we love seeing their little minds think and feel. We also want to provide for them. We want to make sure they have a roof over their head and clothes to wear which means you work hard at your job to do just that.
But sometimes, it feels like you can't do both. You need to work to support your family but that means spending less time with your children. Where's the balance?
Most people feel pressured to spend more time with each other but a recent study shows that the amount of time you spend with your child doesn't matter. As long as you do spend some quality time together, you're covered.
Researchers found "the number of hours a mother spends with her kids aged three to 11 has little to no impact on their academic or psychological success."
There are a lot of mommy-shamers out there that are making mothers are feeling unneeded pressure to be "better" mothers and spend hours upon hours with their children ... but according to this study, there's no need to sacrifice your work life and other responsibilities to fit in as much quality time as possible. As long as you're connecting, your children are going to be just fine.
The study continues, "Building relationships, seizing quality moments of connection, not quantity, is what emerging research is showing to be most important for both parent and child well-being." Sociologist Melissa Milkie adds her support - "The amount of time doesn't matter, but these little pieces of time do," she said. Her advice to parents? "Just don't worry so much about time."
Plan time to be together
Instead of feeling pressured about time, focus instead on planning worthwhile activities together. These activities can be as simple as a family dinner once a week, to something more elaborate like taking a family vacation in the middle of the summer.
Children are very capable humans. It's important to trust them to accomplish tasks to help build their self-esteem and to help your entire family balance their time together. If your children follow a schedule and do their chores, quality time can be spent playing games and making memories, instead of cleaning up.
Encourage their risks
Encourage your children to learn to do things on their own. If they take risks, they will be better at accomplishing goals in their future. It can be hard to let go, but your children will be better adults if you let them learn things on their own.
We want to coddle our children, but allowing them to experience the world on their own (while spending quality time with them) will improve their ability to make good choices, and will help maintain a good relationship with your child.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.