10 Minutes a Day

For many families, one New Year’s Resolution is to focus more on family.  Over the holidays we realize how much time we’re missing out on with our kids.  With the time off many of us are given over the holiday season, we realize how much we enjoy this time with our family, especially our kids, and we see the positive changes that take place when we have that time to connect regularly.  We want it to continue because everything seems easier when our kids feel heard and close to us.

The question becomes: How?

We can have all the good intentions in the world, but when we return to work, the kids to school, and the usual crazy pace of life begins, good intentions don’t give us the time we think we need to really connect with our kids on a regular basis.  The daily time spent over the holidays becomes weekend time where we try to create “quality time” events.  Then weekends get eaten up with errands and so our “quality time” becomes the next holiday or long weekend when we’re able to really unwind and we don’t have a list a mile long of things to do.  By then we're back to where we were with no real time spent with the family and the bickering begins and things just seem harder again.  Until the next break.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m serious.  The idea of “quality time” is a bit of a myth.  Yes, we can have these special, big moments with our kids and family, but to really build a connection that will last and be the foundation for a strong relationship now and in the future, we need real, tangible, regular time.  There’s the old adage that children spell LOVE as “T-I-M-E” and it’s true.  They don’t need the big events, but they do need regular, consistent time with us.

The problem we have is that we think to give them this we have to dedicate large chunks of time to them when we don’t have that.  Most parents don’t have an hour a day to just play one-on-one with our kids (even better if it’s one-on-one with each child).  There’s too much else to do.  But it doesn’t have to be that much.  What we all have is 10 minutes a day and 10 minutes a day of real one-on-one time with each child is all you need to build that healthy, strong relationship.

I realize that this may not sound like much and you question if you can really do much of anything in 10 minutes a day, but let’s think about it logically.  Ten minutes a day is 70 minutes a week.  If you added 70 minutes a week of anything to your life, you would see improvement, especially when done on a daily basis because that is the foundation for building a habit.  If you, for example, added 10 minutes a day of exercise, your health would improve.  If you practiced a new skill 10 minutes a day, you’d get better.  None of this would happen overnight, but it would compound.  Over a year, it equals 3650 minutes, or just over 60 hours, or 2 ½ days.  That's a significant amount of time.

When it comes to our kids, this doesn’t include the other times we’re also spending with them, but it’s the dedicated time where the focus is really connecting with them.  It’s the time where you may just sit and play something they want, they may want to talk about whatever happened in their day, they may want to show you something they’ve been working on, you may want to start a new task together, but whatever it is, it’s the time they know you are focused 100% on them.  No phone, no calls, no work, no errands (because if you can’t stop those things for 10 minutes, you have a problem that needs to be addressed).  To really build this connection and improve your relationships, you just need to focus on them for that time each and every day.  It doesn’t need to be more, but it needs to be just the two of you and it needs to be regular. When you do that, you will see with time an amazing change in your relationship with your kids.

Now that is something incredibly special that we can all give our children for a cost of just 10 minutes a day.

By Tracy Cassels

January 04, 2016