All Family Time Is Quality Time

Don't feel guilty about the amount of "quality time" you spend with your family. Some experts are beginning to shun the quality time movement for something much more basic.

"It doesn't take grand gestures to build quality relationships with your kids," says Laura Sessions Stepp, an award-winning journalist and author of the acclaimed book Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence.

Ms. Stepp believes carving out family time doesn't require major adjustments to your life.

"We think we have to cart the family off to Barbados or buy season tickets to the symphony to have a good time," she says. "But quality time should be woven into our lives. Particularly as our children get older and slip away from us, we need to stop worrying about the extraordinary and think more about the ordinary."

Here are some suggestions:

  • Children want your undivided attention. When they talk, look at them, engage them in further conversation; show your interest.

  • Listen to their music. Who knows, you might begin liking it.

  • Ask them what they want to do. Is baseball their love? Play catch in your backyard, or pitch a few at a local baseball diamond.

  • Establish new family traditions. Set a specific time each week for them, such as Friday pizza nights or Sunday brunches.

  • Develop your family as a team. Give everyone chores. Do them together.

  • Make one-on-one time with each child. Kids talk more freely when they're with just one parent.

  • Watch television shows they choose. Then talk about them.




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