Quality Time or Quantity Time
Joey & Carla Link
© March 2016
What is more important, to spend quality time or quantity time with you kids? This question has been around for years. We can make a case for both, but we are fairly certain you can too so we aren’t going to spend time on that. God is very good at giving us illustrations and stories in the Bible to impress upon us the way He wants us to live. I think at least part of the answer to this question can be found in God’s example with His kids in Genesis 3.
We know it was God’s habit to walk in the garden and spend time with Adam and Eve (Gen.3:8) Can you imagine God coming to you and saying, “Let’s go for a walk.” That would be a “wow” moment for sure! Talk about quality time!
God shows us that as Adam and Eve’s parent, He had a relationship with them just like He wants to have with us, and He wants us to have with our kids. Following God’s example and making time for your kids gives you the chance to show them what their relationship with their Heavenly Father looks like. Taking a walk with one of your children (at a time) gives both of you the opportunity to talk without distraction. Even a short amount of time giving your children your undivided attention adds up.
Carla did an internship as a juvenile probation officer while she was in college and she was amazed most of the kids in Juvenile Hall were living a rebellious lifestyle because they didn’t believe their parents cared about them. When she did home visits she found out the kids were right, their parents didn’t care about them. In my years as a youth pastor I found this to be true too.
So, Quality Time or Quality Time? Well, we think you should just spend TIME with your kids!
- Set non-negotiable times. In our home it was a priority to have dinner together. It was expected that each person would share about their day. The rule was everyone had to share 3 good things that had happened before they could share any negative things that went on.
- Surprising your kids makes them feel special. When my kids were in school I decided to get some quality and quantity time in with them by showing up at their schools and surprising them for lunch. These times went so well I ended up scheduling lunch appointments with each of them individually once a month. Sometimes I had an agenda to talk about a concern I had for them but most of the time it was just to hang out and talk. When you do this enough, your kids will open up and talk to you, especially when the other kids in school are jealous their dad takes them out to lunch!
- Do what interests them. I played Frisbee golf with Michael although I was not particularly good at it. I took Briana shopping. Most of the time we didn’t buy anything, just walked the mall and talked. Amy liked to ride bikes. Carla scrapbooked with the girls.
How do you get kids to talk? Ask them an open ended question. I have a friend who developed a “Family Time Starter Kit” with 39 different open ended questions he used around the dinner table for family discussions. We added it to the end of the Mom’s Notes presentation “Building Family Identity” (Volume 3). Here are a few of the questions:
- What is one thing you want to do in your lifetime and why?
- What are 3 things you are good at?
- Name one thing that is important to you and tell why it is.
- If someone asked you the name of a person who is important to you, whose name would you give? Why is this person important to you?
Family is more than biological gene sharing. It’s about spending time together because everyone in the family is important to each other. While it’s easy to major on it around Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays, time with your kids is something that should be focused on daily, just as our Heavenly Father did in the Garden of Eden.