How to Have Quality Time With Your Child

Apr 7, 2014 by



Recently we again had the privilege of speaking in another state and our oldest, Lauren, and our granddaughter, Adelyn, were able to be with us. We loved it and had a wonderful time.

While there, the president of the university offered to take us to his ranch, see the property, and to shoot guns. Jerolyn decided she wanted to work on one of our talks, but our daughter excitedly said she would like to go. I quickly found out that she had never shot a gun. First of all, are you kidding me? How did I fail as a father? Her younger siblings had been to ranges and hunted, but somehow I had never taken our oldest to shoot any guns. Shameful I know, but at least I am publicly confessing.

The time with my daughter was awesome. She had a blast, sent her husband pictures, and called him back in San Diego to tell him they needed to go on a date to shoot guns. He was thrilled.

I loved the time and adventure with her. It made me flashback to moments of scheduled times with her and all of our kids. The times where I would take them out for early breakfast or spend time with them, one on one, or daddy and kids together. This is one thing I think we did fairly well with our kids — scheduling and spending time with them in activities they liked to do. It doesn’t hurt when both you and your child like to do them and is an added bonus that you’re creating together time. A quick thought on this; it doesn’t have to end when they are older, although it may not be as often. Or they will begin these special times with their own children. Nonetheless it is still some great connecting time with our adult children. BUT it should start when they are young.

We often talk about dating your spouse, and we are finding it to be even truer the longer we are together. In fact, last night was a great evening of talking and sharing while we were in downtown Sacramento exploring places to go another time. We are having so much fun dating one another, but it the principle works in parenting. Find times and activities to spend as a mom or dad with your child or children. Make them fun play dates with parents and once again follow the adage we say often around our family, “Create the experience to make the memory.”

Some basic thoughts for all of us to learn or remember as we are all challenged to schedule these times:fun

  1. Make these times a priority. Do not have only one or two of these in the life of your child(ren). Make it happen by scheduling and following through to do the activity.
  2. Be fully present. Be engaged and participate with your child(ren) on the activity. In the last few years, the daddy/daughter dances have become popular all over North America. One of our dads who recently helped with and attended one was frustrated to see dads all over the dance floor (or off to the side) on their phones. Worse yet, he told me that some were actually playing games on their phones, not taking pictures to send to family, or talking with someone about the night, but playing games. Dads, be fully present and engaged during these times. Your kids will know and remember!!!
  3. Find activities they like to do, not just what you like to do. You may be aware of our “legacy trips,” which is a right of passage trip we take with each of our children. We honored our commitment that they would pick the location and we would set the agenda. If you want more information on legacy trips, you can check out our book on parenting as it gives details about the trip along with our family values. But I say that to mention that on these “date times” don’t just pick things you like to do, rather specifically what they like to do. Again, it is a bonus when you both enjoy it.
  4. Although we believe in prioritizing and scheduling these, we would also encourage you to have some margins in your life to allow for some spontaneity for these events. It may be a tea party or playing catch, but if we allow times in our schedules for open family time, we can allow some of these “smaller” yet no less significant times happen. Plan for spontaneity.
  5. Ask questions and find conversation moments to recount the day, process, and laugh again about your time together.
  6. Take pictures and capture the moments together. You may be more thankful about this than your child(ren).
  • What can you begin to do now to find out what your kids like and schedule some “hang out” time with them?
  • When will you do this?

Don’t let shooting guns together take place too late. I almost missed a fun time with one of our kids, but so glad we got another opportunity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!!

~ Jim

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