Strengthening Families with Quality Time

Quality time is so important to the health and well-being of families. And it’s also difficult to achieve, especially in the age of iPhones, tablets and other digital playthings.

More than 2,000 U.S. parents of school-aged children (ages 4-18) were recently polled about how they spend quality time with their families. One in four said lack of family quality time away from chores, work, school or TV is a real problem. The study found on weekdays, families typically spend just 37 minutes per day on quality time. On the weekends, that number grows to about two hours and 40 minutes per day.

Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, says, “Creating a nurturing family environment requires a great deal of energy and work. Quality time together is one of the most important elements for building a strong family.”

For the 33.3 percent of Missouri children from single-parent families and the 67.1 percent of Missouri children from married-parent families, not only is quality time great for strengthening relationships with their parents, it also provides other benefits. According to the paper “Kids and Self-Esteem,” by Joycelyn Tucker Burgo of the Mid-America Addiction Technology Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City: “A sense of self-worth is critical for developing resiliency, adaptability and an ‘I can do it!’ attitude that helps us learn, grow, and cope with life’s frustrations and inevitable problems. Strong parenting provides roots and wings. Children need to feel safe, secure, loved, and part of a family. This foundation provides roots from which the child can develop wings to explore the world.”

Burgo is also adamant that quality time helps in building kids’ self-esteem and in easing stress.

“Fostering healthy self-esteem and a positive self-concept among family members can make a real difference in how members view themselves and their ability to succeed in life. Research shows that parents who guide the development of resiliency factors in their children can help them learn to adapt and protect them from such destructive behaviors as drug abuse, underage drinking, and teen pregnancy.”

In need of some inspiration for family time? Spending the day at the pool, going to the movies, playing a board game, going camping, enjoying a picnic, reading together and visiting a museum are just a few of the endless possibilities.

Vacations also are a great way to achieve quality time. If you’re looking staycation ideas, Working Mother magazine rounds-up the top family-friendly places to visit in Missouri. In St. Louis, the Gateway Arch and the City Museum are top spots, while in Kansas City, Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium and the Kansas City Zoo are favorites. In Springfield, the great outdoors is supreme; Lake Ozark State Park is a popular summertime destination.

Spending time with each other and enjoying activities together build strong family relationships and promote a healthy well-being among kids and parents. It will also create memories that’ll last a lifetime.

October 16, 2018