Most of us wish there were more hours in the day so that we could do all the things that our busy lifestyles demand. As busy as you are as the parent of a young child it is important to set aside ’quality time’ for him when he gets your undivided attention. Whilst he might happily play with play dough whilst you are cooking the supper, his development and confidence will benefit greatly from the times when you engage with him 100%"
Quality time can be doing something truly exciting and different, such as visiting the pantomime or the museum, but it can also be as simple as sitting down with him for a drink and a chat or just cuddling up together to read a book. By being involved in an activity with him, talking and listening to him, he will be more engaged and will consequently have a better learning experience.
Try to make each experience he has a ’quality’ experience. If you take him to a museum and all he can remember is the revolving door at the entrance he clearly hasn’t got a lot out of it. Give it a little thought though and the result could be very different:
* Be very selective about what you see. If he never gets further than the first exhibit it’s still a worthwhile trip if he asks lots of questions or relates it to his play the day after. Remember repeating the experience over and over, by talk or role-play, is his way of remembering.
* Fire his imagination before you get there. If you have discussed whether a stegosaurus would fit in a bus or how big their brains were compared with his, the more likely he is to have a quality visit. The book you buy him about dinosaurs and the pictures he draws will add to the quality of the experience.
* Most quality time will take place at home. Actively listen and talk to him and get involved with him.
* Put him at the top of your list every now and again and make him the centre of your attention. Try not to let other thoughts distract you, listen to what he says and help him to interpret what he wants to say in response.
All children need time when they engage with mummy one-on-one. You don’t need special props, you can even be engaged in another activity like walking to the shops, filling the supermarket trolley, waiting for the bus or eating dinner, and continue to have a quality interaction with your child.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.