Spotlight on: The Gift of Time

25 March 2022


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 25 March 2022.

Life is busy! With memories of online remote learning still etched in memory banks, crowded family calendars and work schedules, it might seem insensitive or unreasonable to remind parents about the importance of spending time with their daughters. Good news! Research shows that spending quality time with your children does not need to be a huge undertaking; it can be as simple as spending a few minutes each day together, engaged in tasks they like to do, giving them purposeful attention. Although older girls may resist some of the suggestions below, spending quality time with your daughters when they’re young is a great way to foster a loving, healthy relationship. Simple moments together will be recalled as the girls grow older; as times you showed your love and care for them specifically.

The benefits of quality time with your daughter(s):

  • Mental, emotional, social, and physical development
  • You will feel closer to your daughter. You’ll form a deepening connection, develop empathy, establish a slower pace and enhanced well-being.
  • Your daughter will be more likely to confide in you when she’s older if quality time is implemented with parents when she’s younger
  • Your daughter will feel more confident and increasingly likely to have a go at new things
  • Educational benefits – building foundations for school success. Developing speaking and listening, vocabulary, reading and writing, counting, making connections and problem solving, social and self-management skills, relating real life experiences to school learning – new syllabus documents refer to the value of skills established at home
  • Family time is happier and there are fewer behavioural issues at home or school
  • Children learn how to interact with each other as well as with adults
  • Children can become more creative, compassionate, and loving with regular quality time
  • Modelling values and promoting curiosity, wonder, agency, and action
  • Physical health – children who spend quality time with their parents are more likely to be physically healthy, with enhanced balance, coordination, and overall growth
  • Quality time with preteens or teens means they’re less likely to engage in risky behaviour and serious issues such as drug or alcohol use later.

Tips for spending quality time with your daughter(s):

  • Eat meals as a family and involve your daughter, when possible, in the preparation of a meal
  • Do family chores together, e.g. pack school bags, make lunches, sort the clean laundry, feed a pet, bake, plant seeds in the garden, shop and acknowledge your daughter’s help with tasks
  • Watch a movie or show together and discuss this afterwards
  • Play board or card games, make puzzles, or enjoy construction toys
  • Plan an excursion, e.g. to the theatre, ballet, zoo, a museum, an exhibition, on public transport and work collaboratively on the planning
  • Write a letter or card
  • Painting, drawing, craft activities
  • Create a special time each day, e.g. your child choosing and reading books with you each evening (just 3 books per night is more than 1000 books read together in one year!), or read side by side and discuss books together
  • Exercise, e.g. go for a walk, a bike ride, surfing, or swimming
  • Take the opportunity for a quick snack and chat or go for a picnic
  • Sing together
  • Laugh and play, e.g. role play, dress-ups, puppets, charades
  • Turn off technology – resist phone calls, social media and TV when spending time with your daughter.

In a very busy week, you may need to ‘book in’ quality time with your daughter – something for you both to look forward to.

Meaningful connections are about quality of time, not quantity of time. Keep it simple and connect with your daughter in ways that make sense for your lifestyle and relationship. Try to spend time with your daughters individually if possible. Each connection has a lasting impact and provides the support and reassurance that your daughter needs.