Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Bonding with your Child in Just 12 Minutes a Day

For several decades now, we’ve heard the constant mantra about how parents need to spend “quality time” with their children. Some parents approach this idea with skepticism; they see it as something of a cop-out. After all, “quality time” implies that there really isn’t much in the way of quantity. Critics suggest children need both quantity and quality in order to really connect with their children and be as effective as they can be as parents.

According to a British juice maker, parents can reconnect and bond with their children in just 12 minutes each day.

The company did a survey that looked at how 2,000 British parents interacted with their children, and how they spent their time. The parents spent about an average of 186 minutes each day in cooking, driving to and from work, household chores, answering emails, etc. They spent an average of 39 minutes a day interacting with their children. That works out to about seven days each year.

The research led to the creation of a pamphlet that offers some advice on connecting with you children in just 12 minutes a day, including:

  • Playing guessing games with food. Blindfold one another and then smell and taste different foods, trying to guess what they are.
  • Use play dough to recreate scenes from your day, and have your children do the same.
  • Tell one another jokes, and see who can maintain a straight face the longest.
  • Ask children open-ended questions about their day to encourage them to open up and talk.

The fact of the matter is that most parents worry that they’re not especially good parents during the week, mainly because of a lack of time. The idea behind “12 minutes” is to create opportunities to reconnect with your kids during the week.

Of course, it also helps to alleviate some of that parental guilt in the process.

So, what do you think? Is 12 minutes a day really enough? How much time would you say you spend, on average, interacting with your children during the typical weekday?