My first inclination was to title this post, “Schedule Quality Time.” Several things demanded that I rethink that. First, busy parents sometimes justify being too busy by thinking they can schedule quality time. With children, you can’t schedule when quality time will occur. Second, although I preserved the idea of quality time in the title, parents must also recognize that children’s own clocks and needs determine the very moment that quality time takes place.

Quality time refers to moments of genuine bonding: insightful questions, moments of fun and laughter, or any other moment that builds the parent/child relationship. Neither the time nor the quality can always be fixed into an adult schedule. We should think more about maintaining and utilizing family time while searching for moments when children interact with us, sometimes in unexpected ways.


Oddly enough, let’s begin with a fixed family time: meals. Do everything you can to preserve meals together. Not so long ago, families ate together every night and on Sundays often brought out the best China to make Sunday dinner a special occasion. Think of the show, “Blue Bloods.” Every Sunday the extended family shares a family meal accompanied by laughter, discussion, and even disagreement. Although scheduled and pre-planned, it provides the foundation where quality time can happen.

I recommend that families eat together every night and also during the day when possible. Quality conversation doesn’t have to be, or should I say can’t be, forced. However, there are ways to nurture it. When our boys were young, every Monday was compliment night. We had to compliment everyone. Were the comments profound and emotionally moving? Mostly not, although often surprising. It was a way of helping them to look for the good in each other rather than constantly criticizing each other. Use your imagination to develop other conversation starters.


When the kids are young, bedtime is a particularly significant moment in their day. Of course, parents have to deal with resistance to sleep so common in many children. At the same time, routines develop around tucking in with stories, songs, and prayers that mean a lot to them. Anyone with young children knows that they love and look forward to bedtime routines. It is also a time that children are prone to come up with questions and discussions about their day, even a time when they listen to wise counsel.

Whatever Works

The key to quality time is to find out what works. When our sons got into their teen years, eating out seemed to generate conversation in a way that other times did not. Special weekends and vacations also promote conversation and create memories. Game nights work well with some families, and I have found that spending times like these together reveals things about family experiences. Such knowledge can’t be crammed into a crash course scheduled for quality time. It happens as we spend time with one another. Recognize such times with your children, and don’t relinquish any of the time your children have with you.

© 2024 Robert T. Weber, Words Done Right LLC and The Lazarus Chronicles