Parents! Quality Time With Kids Trumps Quantity, Says Science

Self, Family

So stop feeling guilty for not always being around.

If you really think about it Americans like to guilt-trip parents a lot. Our society makes parents feel like they should want to spend every waking moment with their kids. We tell them "they won't be that age for long" to implore them to take every opportunity to be with their mini-humans. But according to a new study, it's not about quantity when it comes to time spent with your kids, it's quality!

A study published in Journal of Marriage and Family found that the amount of time spent with children between the ages 3 and 11 have no affect on how they will eventually turn out.

And if you're spending time with your kids when you're stressed, sleep-deprived, guilty, or anxious — then that time with them is actually harmful!

"When mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, they may actually be affecting their kids poorly," co-author Kei Nomaguchi, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University tells Washington Post.

So what exactly is considered as "quality time"? Things like reading to a child, having meals together, talking with them and having one-on-one time have much more positive affects on kids.

"In an ideal world, this study would alleviate parents' guilt about the amount of time they spend," says Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto and one of the report’s authors, "and show instead what's really important for kids."

So if you have a particularly demanding job, don't beat yourself up about working long days and nights. Just make sure when you ARE around that you're making the most out of your time with the little nuggets.


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