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While we know that “they won’t be kids forever” and “they grow up so fast,” spending quality time with our kids somehow keeps slipping to the bottom of the laundry list. Perhaps it’s because 24 hours isn’t enough time in a day, or maybe we’re afraid of being labeled a helicopter parent - those parents who are overly involved and “hover” around all their kids’ activities.

The great news is, a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that it’s not so much about how much time you spend with your children ages 3-11, it’s about the quality of the time spent.

Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto and one of the report’s authors, told the Washington Post last year, “I could literally show you 20 charts, and 19 of them would show no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes. . . . Nada. Zippo.”

Read Also: Kids Define What Normal Behavior is By Age 3

Another co-author, Kei Nomaguchi, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University, added that if a mom is spending so much time with her kids that she is stressed from trying to also balance work and other responsibilities, her stress will have a negative outcome on her children.

It is important to note that the study did find that quantity does matter in the case of adolescents. Teens require more quality time. Mothers who engage with their teens lower their teen’s risk of delinquent behavior. When both parents together engage with their teen, they lower their risk of abusing drugs and alcohol. Still, the keyword here is “engage.” Whatever age your kid is, he or she requires your attention in order to thrive.

It’s Not too Late to Watch Your Kids Grow Up

In the movie, “Saved by Grace,” Grace saves the life of her new friend, Rick, in many ways, one of which is encouraging him to reach out to his only child. Because Rick’s wife died years before, he has estranged himself from his son and believes it’s too late to restore their father/son relationship. However, Grace tells him, Tweet: “If you're still breathing, it's never too late to tell your son you love him.” http://ctt.ec/L8wGa+ @PureFlix “If you're still breathing, it's never too late to tell your son you love him.”

Grace’s words ring true to any parent who has allowed the busyness of life to come before their kids. But it’s never too late to try again and show your child how much they mean to you by spending time with them. Here are just some tips for spending quality time with your children.

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Pencil it in. Have a standing date with your kid once a week. If you have more than one kid, you can bring them all or rotate each week.

Practice mindfulness. Whenever you’re with your child, be completely engaged in what they say and do. Ask questions, stop, and listen. Laugh more and just enjoy being together.

Eat a meal together. If family dinner is impossible due to lacrosse games and play practice, enjoy another meal together once a week. Brunch on Saturday morning is the perfect family event and one that can be long and lazy.

Pray together. Praying with your child is be an incredible bonding experience. When you pray out loud for one another's needs and give thanks for the gift of the other, your child will surely feel blessed to hear just how much he or she is loved by you.

While the days are long, the years are short. How do you take advantage of the years your kids are still at home? Leave any tips for other parents in the comments. For more inspiration, check out the family movieSaved by Grace” now streaming on Pure Flix.

Read Also: Family-Friendly Movie Challenge

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