Quality time with those we care about can feel like a scarce commodity at times. There is so much we need to get done every day and time flies by so quickly. We end yet another day realizing that there was a high quantity of activity in our lives, but it was short on quality. You are not alone, we all find ourselves in the same predicament. It takes intentionality to set aside quality time with those we love, and make it the best time it can possibly be.
I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when it comes to quality time with those I love. Here are six things to remember as you prioritize quality time in days to come.
- Starting small is ok. If life has been especially busy here of late, and you are ready to bring back the quality time, realize that it is going to be an adjustment for the people in your life. I once had a very gung-ho woman in one of my Life Planning Classes who knew this was an area her and her family needed to improve upon. One week she came to class extremely frustrated with her family. They did not want to cooperate with her renewed love of quality time. She described the plan that she tried to implement that week. She went from very little quality time to a minute by minute quality time plan for each member of the family for each night of the week. I loved her enthusiasm, but as she experienced, it was a little bit too much for her family to take all at once. Starting small will yield less resistance.
- Spend quality time on their terms. I am not into video games. I have never been good at them and I have never really understood them. I have a number of kids in my life that love video games. Okay, what kids don’t, right? When I stop in to visit them, they absolutely love to tell me about their Minecraft and video game stuff. I call it stuff because I don’t understand anything they are telling me. But they love to share it with me, so I love to hangout and listen. I try my best to take interest in what they are interested in. It turns our ordinary time together into quality time.
- Make quality time a positive experience. Early in my marriage, my husband, John, stopped taking walks with me. I did not understand. He used to take walks with me all the time. What had changed? Over time the reason was revealed. He did not like walking with me because I would take the opportunity to tell him about all of the things that went wrong in my day, at home, at work, etc. He would rather do just about anything than be forced to listen to me complain as we walked around the loop in our subdivision. I still have to watch myself to this very day, but we have much nicer walks, and he will go with me when I am a happier, positive person.
- Make sure quality time does not feel like a punishment. Many times disciplinary action needs to be taken, specifically with the youngsters in our lives. One form of discipline is to take a privilege away for a period of time. That privilege might be screen time, or it might be time hanging with friends. Many times quality time requires us to put down the screens and let friends know that they cannot come over for the night. This can feel like punishment. If we want our time to be of quality, it’s important to do something special during that time. Yes, you may still get some resistance, but making your quality time feel like fun, and not punishment, is essential.
- Go on a date night. Yes, you should have regular date nights if you have a significant other. But also go on a date night with your son or daughter, just you and them. I have witnessed these date nights when Daddies take their little girls out to dinner. It melts my heart every time. Date night is a time when we can focus 100% on the other person, and they can focus on us. These times are priceless.
- Grab the small moments. Just the other night we went out to dinner with some dear friends. Their two boys were new to playing darts, and there were a number of dart boards at the Bar and Grill where we were eating. The boys were having a great time. But they had an even better time when their mom came over, who has a wicked dart throwing arm, and hung out with them and helped them. The moment did not last real long, but it was quality!
We have people in our lives who mean so much to us. Let’s try to switch over some of the quantity of time into real quality time. Everyone will be happier for it!
Here’s to great times with great people!