Virtually all parents consider a trip to the playground or a museum to be quality time with their children. An afternoon spent together at a park is quality time; however children need more than just quality time with their parents; they need connection time.
We are well aware as to when our children feel connected to us and when they feel disconnected, even if this specific terminology may be new to us.
When our children are feeling disconnected from us, they answer in monosyllables, avoid physical touch, and hesitate to make eye contact. On the other hand, when kids do feel connected to their caregivers, they are talkative, physically affectionate, and spontaneously happy.
As adults, we are capable of letting go of our connection to close friends for many months – even years, and then picking up right where we left off. Children, whose prefrontal cortex is still in development, do not possess this ability.
If my son has not seen his grandmother in a year, he will not be able to pick up the relationship where it left off last winter, no matter how much he knows intellectually that Grandma loves him.
Kids require ongoing nourishment to maintain their relationships, as their minds and relationship skills are growing and developing along with their bodies.
Our children, for the most part, are unaware of the myriad of things that we do FOR them. However, they are fully aware of the things which we do WITH them.
Bringing children to a park, a movie, or museum can be a great activity, yet the value of the quality time for children is in the level of connection that exists within those excursions.
When parents sit on the bench and view their children’s gravity-defying antics on the monkey-bars, that is one level of quality time with children.
However, a game of tag with children chasing their parents is light-years ahead of just watching children play in terms of the connection that is created by engaging in an activity simultaneously.
It has been said that each child requires a minimum of fifteen minutes of connection time with his caregiver in order to develop optimally. Some days, our connection time may be limited to less minutes due to circumstances beyond our control. Even two minutes of connecting, time spent with loving eye contact, physical affection, building, cooking, or playing together will fill up our children’s emotional bank accounts.
Let us commit to spending a minimum of ten minutes of quality time with our children truly connecting with their hearts and minds. Are you ready for this commitment?
Connection Parenting by Pam Leo is a gem of a book, and one of our newest favorites. It is an easy read with clear and compelling instructions, research, and advice. You’ll save a bundle on future therapy costs by purchasing this treasure now.