Quality Time


What is quality time?

Quality time is an opportunity for you to further develop your relationship with your child. It will help nurture your bond and serve as a foundation for other parenting strategies.

Why is quality time important?

Spending quality time with your child will help create more positive moments and strengthen the relationship over time. Over the long-term, strong relationships are essential for children to feel safe and feel confident in dealing with the challenges that come up in life. In the short-term, strong relationships can help motivate a child to behave more cooperatively. This can result in improvements in challenging behaviors and academic engagement.

What does quality time look like?

Quality time entails one-on-one interactions with your child that are directed by your child.  It includes spending time with each other and focusing on what your child is doing well. Quality time is a great way to show curiosity and interest in your child and what they are doing. It also involves being mindful of your questions and comments in order to support the strengthening of your relationship.

How do you have quality time?

  1. Have your child select an activity that they are interested in (e.g., You could ask, “I want to spend some quality time with you. Can you pick a fun activity for us?”). If they are already engaged in an activity, ask if you can join in.

Example activities can include:

  • Any age: going for a walk and doing a joint activity, playing a sport, playing catch outside
  • Younger Children: Playing with blocks, legos, toy cars, etc.
  • Older children/teens: Playing board games, card games, taking a trip to the store, cooking a meal/baking together, etc.

   2. Create a quality interaction through what you do and don’t do.

What to doWhat not to do
Describe what your child is doingUse this as a time to teach
Praise your child for what they are doingCriticize/correct behavior
Show affection (hugs, high fives, etc.)Ask too many questions

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it brief: 5-15 minutes of dedicated, intentional, and undivided attention is great!
  • Keep it frequent: If you can, try to do this on a daily basis.  If that is not possible, try to have quality interactions as consistently and frequently as you can.
  • Focus on the relationship: The activity is not the most important part of quality time- the relationship is!  During the activity, consider what you say/do that focuses on your child’s strengths and desired behaviors (e.g., playing nicely with toys, participating in the activity, sharing, etc.).  

Plan ahead: It’s easy to forget to make space for quality time if there isn’t a plan in place. Life often gets in the way!  So, here are some questions to help develop your plan:

What are the types of quality time activities that your child would like to do?  


How long will each quality time last? __________________________________________________________

How often will you have quality time? _________________________________________________________

Where can you have quality time? ____________________________________________________________

What are some things that may get in the way of sticking with your plan? What can you do to address these obstacles? 



What are some ways you can remember to have quality time? Who can help support you and remind you to have quality time? 



What’s one thing you most look forward to experiencing during quality time with your child? 



Recording what you’re doing is a helpful way to know how things are going. Here is a table that can help you keep track of and learn from your experiences:

DateActivityAmount of TimeHow well you did (see do’s & don’ts above) Your child’s response
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁
😀 🙂 😐 🙁😀 🙂 😐 🙁