Everyone deserves it. Everyone needs it from time to time. But, those whose primary love ‘language’ is quality time desire this with a passion.
Quality time is giving your undivided attention. If you are reading the newspaper or scrolling through social media with an occasional “uh-huh” this is not giving quality time.
The most important factor of quality time is just that – time. So plan some time together with those you love.
It is not necessarily what you are doing just the time you are making for it.
When the children were little, we had something called ‘special’ time. Weekly (then monthly as they got older), we would have one on one time with each of them. ‘Special’ time simple was one parent with one child doing life. Sometimes it was a necessary trip to the store, but we would be intentional on bringing one kid along. It could be we had an hour free so one kid and one parent would go play a game of the child’s choosing in a room without the others near by to interrupt. Now it takes planning and effort especially since two live out of the house. Regardless, the kids need to know we love them so much we want to give of our time to them.
I know this may seem hard especially if you are in a season with littler ones under toe but the concept is the same for us all.
First, liberally use eye contact. So, if that means you need to step away from the computer, put the paper or phone down, do it! Then, look deeply into your loved ones eyes. What does this say? This says you are valued, I am listening, and my time is yours.
Our daughter at just a few weeks old wanted our undivided attention by us looking right at her. Often we had conversations together looking at her instead of each other. And all these years later, that is still her desire. It was a no-brainer figuring out her love ‘language’.
Think about when the last time you had deep conversations with your full attention on those who matter most to you was. If you can’t recall or can’t name the color of all their eyes, you need to step up your game of quality time.
Another part in this love ‘language’ is having those meaningful conversations. For your children, as they grow up, this becomes a little easier but even when they are young just telling them stories or reading to them good, wholesome books is a great place to start. This is a wonderful use of time even if you read the same story over and over again.
Side note, stay away from anything scary especially before age 11. In our house, that age was even older and we still monitor and shield unnecessary violence or sexual content. This is especially important for boys and the husband. There is already so much to contend with in this world, they certainly don’t need more inappropriate images stuck in their heads! Again, I can’t stress this enough. The fact is for males the eye gate is the opening for stimulus, so be careful what goes before it.
“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.” Luke 11.34
“…The eye is not satisfied with seeing…” (Ecclesiastes 1.8) so be careful what is put before it. Don’t let quality time be sabotaged by inappropriate choices.
The experts say that under eight, it is hard for a child to distinguish between reality and fiction. So the less exposure to questionable things the better. I would even go as far to say no tv or screen time for kids under two. I know this is not a popular view in our day and age. A screen can be an easy ‘babysitter’ but, those little ones need our time for their healthy development. After three, only 30 minutes or less of screen time should be allowed per day. And once a child is over five, have them earn minutes for screen time by time spent being read to or reading themselves.
My standard before I had children of my own was if I wouldn’t watch something with my nieces and nephews than I wasn’t going to watch it without them. A good standard even if you don’t have children in your life.
We applied that same principle when are kiddos were young. Set standards for yourself so others in your life have something to follow. “If you don’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything.”*
And this also works in reverse, if you don’t set standards, you and others in your life will follow that as well. For, “those who stand for nothing will fall for anything”* and “when you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything.”*
So, let’s review. What are the key essentials of loving someone through quality time? First and foremost is carving time out. C all it something to make it more special (like special time, date night, tea time, surprise trip, adventure time, etc) and don’t forget lots of eye contact!
*the precursor for these statements )often attributed to be said by Alexander Hamilton, Peter Marshall, and others) came from a Methodist church announcement in an Iowan paper that said: “It is easier to fall for anything than to stand for something.” Regardless, all four statements are not my original verbiage but not sure who gets the credit as originator.
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