How To Spend One Hour Of Quality Time With Your Kids

How would you spend one hour of quality time with your kids?

I ask this question because a recent poll of 1500 parents with children under the age of 6 by Thomas Cook discovered that 80% of us know we don’t spend anywhere near enough time with our little ones during the average working week.

Quality time with your kids - do you spend more than an hour at day with them? Mum and son on a sunbed on holiday

Worse, the research found that 50% of British parents spend less than ONE hour of quality time a day with their children.

43% of families struggle to find the time to sit down together to eat, whilst 25% haven’t even got the time to talk about what’s happened that day.

During the average working week, parents will only read with their children for a total of 32 minutes, and play with them for just 43 minutes.

Only 36 minutes are spent sitting at the dining table together, while meaningful conversations are crammed into just 32 minutes a week.

Long working hours, chores, cooking the dinner and running our kids to and from their clubs and sports mean many of us barely have time to breathe!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, for half of those polled holidays are a top spending priority for 2018, because they give a momentary breather that allows us to reconnect.

That’s fine if you have the budget.  But what can you do to make more quality time with your kids when childcare costs are high and the demands of our employers even higher?

The challenge of being a working mum or dad is endlessly tricky and involves not a little guilt and sadness at the family milestones which are often missed.

If you do have little time, what can you do to make the most of this magical 60 minutes (or even less)?

It depends on the age of your children of course and when you have the time to be with them.

Nothing beats a bath, book and bed routine to help settle kids. Even now I will put Caitlin and Ieuan to bed and allow them to settle by reading for a half hour or so before they put out the light.

Quality time with your kids - always easier on holiday!

Here are some things you might like to try to get the make more quality time with your kids, depending on their age of course.

  1. Sing nursery rhymes or songs together
  2. Read a book taking turns to read each page
  3. Draw a picture of what happened that day
  4. Play counting games or practise times tables
  5. Play with salt dough
  6. Try some simple yoga poses
  7. Kids can learn to meditate or practise mindfulness too
  8. Bake some easy to make biscuits or cupcakes
  9. Play with Lego or building bricks
  10. Build a den or a fort
  11. Lay the table for breakfast
  12. Teach them to clean and polish their school shoes
  13. Get everything ready for the school run
  14. Let them help prepare their lunchboxes and snacks
  15. Go for a brisk walk or spend time outside in the garden or park
  16. Plan a weekend treat together – draw up a bucket list of activities to try and places to go.
  17. Play a musical instrument – we have a piano keyboard
  18. Help them to write a gratitude journal or diary
  19. Phone or Skype the grandparents
  20. Get them to practise their ballet or Tae Kwon-do moves
  21. Pick a gentle family movie to watch
  22. Walk the dog or play with the cat
  23. Play simple card games or a board game
  24. Write a letter to a grandparent, relative or penpal
  25. Help them with their homework
  26. Make puppets and hold your own puppet show
  27. Read or write poetry
  28. Make a vision board together and stick it on your fridge
  29. Create a savings chart and see how much lose change your kids can squirrel away
  30. Make mini entrepreneurs and let them set up a ‘restaurant’ or ‘shop’
  31. Make slime!
  32. Go through old toys and set them aside for a weekend trip to the charity shop
  33. Count the stars – see if you can recognise any of the constellations
  34. Listen to classical music.  Introduce them to composers such as Mozart
  35. Plant bulbs or herbs in the garden, or a windowsill pot

There are loads of things you can do which don’t require money.  And let’s be honest, what our children really want from us it TIME.

Interestingly, Thomas Cook’s research found that parents will spend five times as long reading with their kids on holiday (two hours and 45 minutes), and 10 times longer playing with them (six hours and 50 minutes).

Families will sit together for a proper meal nine times longer on holiday than at home, and perhaps most importantly, conversations will cover four hours a week instead of just half an hour.

Great though this is, our challenge as parents is to find ways to give our kids the time they need without being squashed flat by tiredness or guilt ourselves.

And we need to find ways to do this in the 50 weeks when we’re not on holiday.

Time for more employers to step up to the plate and offer flexible working hours, a wider range of part-time and job share options and help with childcare. HR could assist with supplying information about useful resources, for example, a tutor network such as Tutoo, babysitting networks or even doctor and dental surgeries that offer out of hours appointments.

After all, with recruitment costs spiralling, surely it’s more important than ever for employers to do everything they can to keep their existing talent.

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  1. 10 April, 2018 / 7:23 am

    Loved the post. I didn’t know about that statistics and I’m not a mom, but I have friends with kids and I’ve seen them having exactly the same problem. Working is essential but kids are only kids once and they grow up so fast, so making the most of your time together is so important

  2. 1 February, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    I am very pleased that, by working from home, I have been able to separate enough time for my children while they were small. I think it means a lot to kids to grow up in confident people.

  3. Angela Ricardo Bethea
    1 February, 2018 / 1:59 am

    These are some excellent ideas here. Kids need more attention, care, love and time. Spending quality time and makes some happy and fun memories is so important. I needed these ideas for my growing son.

  4. Aduke Schulist
    31 January, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    These are all great suggestions. We like to have movie and game nights and read stories together often.

  5. 31 January, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    My parents made sure we had plenty of quality time together, despite having different work schedules. It really helps create a strong bond and encourages amazing essentials every kid needs growing up.

  6. corinne & kirsty
    31 January, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    I am not a parent yet so I don’t have to make time for the little ones but I get that it might be hard to make time when everything going on around. These are all great ideas!

  7. Sheri
    31 January, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Sad about those numbers, I make the time I spend with my little one every day a priority and nothing comes in to replace that.

  8. 31 January, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Glad to bump on this post, I’ve been looking for things I can do with my little one. Thanks for sharing!

  9. 31 January, 2018 / 4:06 am

    I am definitely guilty of this! It’s hard finding time when you work and have to come home to all of the chores and meals that still need to be made in a small window of time. I definitely agree that more time should be made, and appreciate the list of ideas you shared.

  10. Hannah Marie
    31 January, 2018 / 3:38 am

    This is such a useful list! With everyone so busy these days, it’s easy to forge the importance family time and bonding!

  11. 31 January, 2018 / 1:50 am

    I make sure I make time for m y kids. They need their parents so badly!

  12. 31 January, 2018 / 1:47 am

    This is a really great post idea. So many people are too buried in their phones to enjoy their children.

  13. Ruthie Ridley
    31 January, 2018 / 1:33 am

    Love this post! It is my utmost priority to spend QT with the kids. Reading and games is at the top.

  14. 30 January, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Spending quality time is so important. I don’t have kids yet but this is something I need to keep in mind.

  15. 30 January, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    It’s so hard to get the balance between work and life! So important to take time out though!

  16. Bona
    30 January, 2018 / 1:43 pm

    In this fast-paced age, it is really important to spend quality time with our kids. It is sad to know how low these statistics are. I hope these numbers will improve soon.

  17. Daria
    30 January, 2018 / 6:47 am

    I don have children but have friends who spend quality time with their kids, they are very attentive, they do lots of activities together, talk to their children., read books together etc. I really admire this, this is the way it should be.

  18. 30 January, 2018 / 12:56 am

    These are some lovely ideas for spending time with your children. It is such a shame about those statistics 🙁 I would never have thought parents spend so little quality time with their kids.

  19. Joanne Dewberry
    29 January, 2018 / 5:16 pm

    We eat every day as a family. Even if it sometimes means we eat quite late. I feel it’s really important as we are always running around to clubs etc … that we all have one time of the day whereby we sit, chat and be together. I’m always surprised that so many families don’t.

  20. 29 January, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    My younger boys are 9 and 11. They still love for me to read to them at bed time.

  21. Kate
    29 January, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    You’ve got so many great ideas here! The statistics are really sad though. Kids deserve better than that.

  22. Joanna
    29 January, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    I had no idea about these statistics, they are so sad… it’s heartbreaking to know how less time parents spend bonding with their own children. Your list of activities is really helpful and the activities on it can be easily integrated into the daily routine.

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