In this busy world, it is so easy to let the days slip away. We can teach our children to respect the time and energy we put into our work, exercise, and social lives, but it’s important that we set aside uninterrupted time with them as well. Creating quality time is an intentional act that communicates love, and builds memories that are the ingredients of adult self-esteem and resilience.
I am pleased to introduce you to Ms. Courtney Lynn Harris, whose work resonates with my own understanding of positive parenting.
As a Child-Centered and Teen Life Coach, Courtney supports children ages 11-19 in finding their voice, growing confidence, and thriving. Through 1:1 and small group coaching sessions, teens and tweens are able to overcome anxiety, disconnect, and isolation as they discover their truest sense of self and develop a deep sense of empowerment. Courtney supports parents in self-care, growing alongside their children, and developing balanced sensitivity towards the process their child is creating.
Join Courtney’s private facebook group for parents (tons of videos, free growth-based challenges, and space for dialogue): https://www.facebook.com/groups/207502379754620/
High 5 List for Creating Quality Time with Children and Teens
“Mornings rarely go as planned. We usually run late and can’t seem to get out of the house without forgetting something.”
“Communication with my teens feels spotty and inconsistent.”
“Dinner is a madhouse- people in and out, late, or half-present.”
Parents work hard to create structures that promote family connection and communication. I see this and hear this every day! This intentional time and space for building and maintaining family relationships, and relationships with our children, is of the utmost importance.
But, I also observe that this work can be exhausting, logistically challenging, and sometimes, thankless. Parents often describe daily routines as feeling strained.
We have visions of what the perfect day looks like in our family. We can describe our ideal schedules and routines, and the way we flow seamlessly
from one task or engagement to the next. We can envision time with our children as easy and cooperative.
Having these visions is important! But, are we grasping onto them?
Are we expecting our day to go exactly as we planned it in our daydream? Are we holding so tightly that we are missing out on opportunities to build relationships with our loved ones?
Sometimes our perspective needs a refresh button, and reframing and creating quality time may be your pathway to deeper connection with your child or tween.
Here are my high 5 tips for getting creative in managing and creating quality time with your family:
1. Consider mentally separating quality time from daily routines. See the routines as more functional, and the quality time as the dedicated space for relationship building. Consider morning routines the necessary steps we take in order to get out the door; yet, work to be mindful and present in each step.
2. Start intentional dialogue about routines with your child or teen. Ask them open-ended questions such as, “What do you need to do each morning to be ready for school on time?” or “What routines help you feel settled at night, as you prepare for rest?” Engaging your child in the thought process helps them create agency in their lives. It helps them co-create family life with you, and it keeps the day-to-day tasks in better flow.
3. Talk explicitly about what quality time means to you, and explore this idea with your child or teen. I love making mind maps for this kind of topic! (See photo to the right) Consider brainstorming what quality time looks like, sounds
like, and feels like to you. Ask your child to do the same or create a shared activity time out of it. Communicating clearly (and in detail) about creating quality time will bring you and your child to a greater understanding of one another’s needs. Keep these tangible maps somewhere you’ll see them regularly (a.k.a keeping quality time with one another in mind every day).
4. Sit down with your children and teens weekly to schedule quality time for the upcoming week. I suggest choosing a mutually agreed-upon day and time to sit down for a chat. Together, commit to 2-3 specific ways you’ll connect over the course of the week. Schedule dinner for Tuesday, play practice pick up on Thursday, pedicures at home on Friday, or a movie/Netflix on Sunday. Keep your mind open as your child or teens shares ideas! Validate their suggestions, and if they are possible, help make them happen. But also share your ideas, giving your child or teen the opportunity to receive your ideas as well. It’s important that we are all giving AND receiving.
5. Allow your child or teen to say no sometimes. If you make an invitation, and they decline or are uninterested, consider accepting this. You may also engage your child by asking what their thought process for reaching this decision was. Giving our young people the power of choice and the power to make intentional decisions = empowerment.
And then what?
Observe. Notice what happens as you reframe and make shifts. Are you experiencing more ease in daily routines? Are you enjoying quality time with greater presence? Where is there still resistance?
I look forward to your comments!