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To think that 'quality time' is a load of nonsense.

(68 Posts)
darcymum Thu 30-Sep-10 13:32:43

Or rather that just about all time spent with your DCs is 'quality time' not just trips to the zoo etc. I think that telling your children off for hitting each other, making them do their maths homework and wrestling their clothes on them is every bit as 'quality' as fun days out. Or am I just kidding myself because my DCs don't get a great deal of the trips to the zoo type quality time and an awful lot of 'pick up your toys' type quality time?

Who invested the stupid phrase anyway!

jellybeans Thu 30-Sep-10 13:33:33

YANBU I think quantity is as important

Callisto Thu 30-Sep-10 13:35:41

I think most children would prefer quantity time to quality time with their parents. I think the 'quality time' phrase is used to make working parents feel less guilty that they don't see much of their children?

ZZZenAgain Thu 30-Sep-10 13:36:41

I don't really know. I suppose if you are around the dc for 4 hours but are leaving them to basically get on with things whilst you are on the pc or cleaning/cooking/doing other things, the question is in what way that compares to sitting down with the dc and no distractions to play or read to them etc for a briefer period each day. I mean I get this quality time as meaning you are focussed on your dc for that time. I'm with dd an awful lot and yet I have noticed that when I am free to actually sit down and do something together with her, she perks up and does notice the difference IYSWIM.

I expect it came in as a response to the concerns of working parents about how much time they get to spend with their dc and if it is enough

DomesticG0ddess Thu 30-Sep-10 13:37:17

YABU - I think "quality" time exists, but it doesn't have to involve trips to the zoo. It could just be saying to myself, 'OK I am going to actually, properly play with DS for an hour (OK, 30 mins) without tidying up, asking him if he needs loo, making him eat his dinner, etc etc.' I think mums spend loads of time with their kids whilst not always enjoying it because they're so busy and preoccupied with running the house, keeping DC clothed, fed, clean, etc - well, this is true for me anyway.

And sometimes I just need reminding to take time out and really appreciate being with him. I don't really care what the phrase for it is!

DomesticG0ddess Thu 30-Sep-10 13:38:33

That's funny *Callisto", because I'm a SAHM and I see the phrase as totally applying to me too.

PorkPieLove Thu 30-Sep-10 13:39:55

We can't afford trips to the Zoo so our "quality time" is when I give them undvided attention...such as baking, reading, crafting or dancing together.

In my experience all they want is feeding, huging and playing with...then everything else falls into place!

PorkPieLove Thu 30-Sep-10 13:40:43

"hugging"...not "huging"...sounds like some technique for making your kids bigger!

ZZZenAgain Thu 30-Sep-10 13:41:21

I'd agree with that too that quality time as I understand it is not about spending money but about the luxury of being available to interact with your dc

twolittlemonkeys Thu 30-Sep-10 13:41:56

I hate the phrase. Mostly it's used as an excuse for spending very little time at all with your children, eg it's 'ok' that you hardly saw your children this week because you had some 'quality time' on Sunday afternoon etc etc.

I do, however, think it's important to build lots of happy memories, but I think children want and need 'quantity' as well as 'quality' time. Now that DS1 is at school, I try to use weekends more productively, by going out somewhere or doing something fun for him, making sure we all enjoy our time together.

Chil1234 Thu 30-Sep-10 13:47:26

I think 'quality' is as subjective as the individuals defining it. My son loves it if I'll sit and watch Scooby Doo with him for 20 minutes. Co-TV-watching in silence is hardly interracting but we're both sat on the same sofa, me drinking a cup of coffee, him trying to work out who's going to do the 'you meddling kids' line. We do lots of other stuff together (including zoos) but I honestly think those Scooby-Doo moments are his idea of a really great time spent with mum....

ZZZenAgain Thu 30-Sep-10 13:48:47

I dunno I think if you are sitting with him watching something together that is interaction in a way. He will see it that way, mum is doing something with me. And that would be different to just sitting watching Scooby Doo alone whilst you are in the kitchen preparing a meal

ZZZenAgain Thu 30-Sep-10 13:49:35

phrase gets on my nerve too, along with play-date, school-run etc but I use them all

cory Thu 30-Sep-10 13:49:45

Depends on what you define as quality time. I would say 20 minutes playing darts with ds probably is better than 2 hours of being in the same room watching me Mumsnetting blush

ZZZenAgain Thu 30-Sep-10 13:51:29

dd hates me MNing or being on the pc generally. Seems to be worse than cleaning/ironing etc, I suppose she feels it shuts her out

Bonsoir Thu 30-Sep-10 13:52:02

I think quality time is when you are totally focused on your DC/you are doing something specific together.

Eg yesterday I took DD to her gymnastics class. When I picked her up we went for a walk through central Paris across the Seine, talking about what we were seeing, then had lunch in a restaurant and went shopping for some bits and pieces for her (ribbons) and me (tights), then went home. I spent an hour or so tidying up and ignoring her, and then we spent a couple of hours curled up in bed watching a DVD, with quite a lot of interruptions for chatting about the DVD.

I would call that a "quality time" day.

Lizcat Thu 30-Sep-10 13:55:55

For me quality time is about DD being my entire focus be it playing a board game, cooking or going for a walk to the park. A lot of it is my own selfish desire to have bits of her all to myself. My particular favorite quality it is snuggling up to a lovely clean girl wrapped in a nightie reading a book together.

Poogles Thu 30-Sep-10 13:57:45

I think quality time is that where your kids have your full attention. YOu could be at home all day with them and not have any 'quality time' (Crap phrase though!). I don't agree that quantity is everything! Quality is far more important.

cestlavie Thu 30-Sep-10 14:04:21


Children absolutely want quality time, not quantity time. Quality time, incidentally has nothing to do with cost but everything to do with spending time engaging completely with your child.

I mean, really, do you think your child is getting more out of three hours playing by themselves by you're on your computer just mumbling "uh-huh" every now and the. Or one hour crawling around on the floor with them pretending to be a dinosaur in the dinosaur world you've helped them build?

andrea69 Thu 30-Sep-10 14:04:59

We can't afford trips to the Zoo so our "quality time" is when I give them undvided attention...such as baking, reading, crafting or dancing together.

We also spend lots of time crafting and baking and we finish the day snuggled up with a story or 2! Even a walk to the shops can be turned into an adventure, dodging crocodiles etc, it's a great way to get my DD to walk to the shop without moaning I think that a lot of parents don't think they've spent quality time with their kids unless they've spent wads of cash. Also, with my DD if I take her somewhere like the Zoo I spend most of the day saying " No, keep away from there " " Put that down " etc, not much fun.

minipie Thu 30-Sep-10 14:08:40

I agree with others. I don't think "quality time" is intended to mean trips to places. It's intended to mean properly giving them your attention as opposed to being in the same room as them while MNing .

In which case, it's not a load of nonsense.

naturalbaby Thu 30-Sep-10 14:10:34

i agree, it's the undivided attention you give your kids. we do too much multi tasking in our house at the best of times. is it a phrase people use to pat themselves on the back and excuse all the hours they leave their kids in front of the t.v/computer/xbox? i wouldn't call general nagging to do household chores/daily routine quality time just cause you're giving them your undivided attention. putting the kids first and doing something they would choose to spend time doing with their family counts in my book.

i do feel this huge pressure every weekend to go out and do something as a family, and to spend at least a couple/few evenings a week with dh doing something as a couple - not just watching t.v or sitting on the computer in our own little worlds. i don't see the need to spend a fortune on days out cause my kids are too young to appreciate most of it, and even when they're older i won't be using how much money i spend on a day out as a measure of how much of a quality day out it was.

notnowbernard Thu 30-Sep-10 14:10:48


Whaen I think of 'quality time' I think of time spent by myself. ALone. In silence

Squitten Thu 30-Sep-10 14:11:25

As a SAHM, I'm often trying to juggle looking after DS with doing other things around the house so I would say that when I get to spend proper, focused time with him, even if it's just pushing him around the garden on his trike or playing with his trains for 10mins, that is "quality" time for him. It certainly doesn't need to be trips out somewhere special.

darcymum Thu 30-Sep-10 14:14:21

Yes, I agree, that time spent with your child reading, baking etc is so called quality time, but my point is that time that is not seen as 'quality' such as when you have to tell them off, should be and is every bit as valuable. Just about all time spent with children is 'quality' we should not have a hierarchy of time spent with them.

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