Skip to main content

Quality Versus Quantity

Updated August 15, 2023

Audrey Rider

SDSU Extension Early Childhood Field Specialist

Mother and son reading bedtime story under a blanket.
Courtesy: Canva

Life is busy, and days pass by so quickly. I know I often wonder if I am doing enough to help my kids grow and learn. I used to feel anxiety and guilt when I saw other parents spending time working on projects and taking field trips with their kids, but I have found through recent studies and personal experience that quality is more important than quantity.

Children need high-quality and truly “connected time” with their parents to feel supported and help develop those social and emotional skills that come with interactions and modeling. Remember it doesn’t have to be a lot of hours, especially if you might only have a half hour before bedtime once you get all the other daily activities completed. Use the following tips to make that half-hour high-quality time with your children.

Tips for High-Quality Time

See the following tips for busy families courtesy of the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

Mother placing a good luck note in her child’s lunchbox.
Courtesy: Canva
  • Have a daily “connect” time with your child. Do this face-to-face, if possible; but if this isn’t an option, create a routine for doing so in other ways, such as leaving a note in your child’s lunch bag, posting a note by his or her toothbrush, or writing an encouraging saying on a shared whiteboard in the house.
  • Create a special ritual for you and your child—something that can be done every day. For example, let your child choose and read one book with you at bedtime.
  • Tell your child you love them every day. And tell them how important they are to you and how they make you feel.
  • Reinforce positive behavior. For example, if your child completes their chores without your asking, acknowledge it with words of appreciation—even if you don’t have the chance do so until the next day.
  • Make and eat meals with your children whenever possible. If time is limited, look for simple meals that require very little preparation, or grab a healthy snack, such as an apple, and sit for a few minutes and chat with your child.
  • Schedule time for doing an activity of your child’s choosing. Be sure to follow through and complete the activity without any distractions.
  • Play with your child, even if it’s during bath time or outside before you drop them off at preschool. Every little bit of time makes a positive impact!
  • Laugh and be silly with your child.
  • Turn off technology when you spend time with your child. Try not to text, answer calls, scroll through social media, or watch television.

For more information and resources on early childhood development, contact Audrey Rider.

Related Topics

Early Childhood Education