Quality vs Quantity Family Time

It’s not quantity of time spent with family, it's quality. Or is it?

Maybe you have heard that logic but I think the concept is a little flawed. Let me give you an example:

You are really hungry and you go to a really expensive restaurant. You look at the menu beforehand and the meals look incredibly appetising. You order the most expensive steak on the menu. You wait with anticipation. The meal arrives and before you on the dinner plate lays the smallest piece of steak. You call the waiter over and complain that you have paid for the most expensive steak and this is just not good enough. He responds: “It may be small but it is the finest beef money can possibly buy. After all, it’s more about quality than quantity.” Do you feel ripped off? Probably.

But it’s actually about quality and quantity and how they balance each other out. They are two of the most important ingredients when it comes to our families. You need to give both quality and quantity time to our children and our spouse. In fact, the more involved parents are with their children - and the word 'more' is used with direct reference to the concept of quantity - the less likely they are to have social, emotional, or academic problems, or use drugs or alcohol, or become involved in crime.

A suggestion: one of the easiest ways to make more time for loved ones is to turn off the TV. In the average home, the television is on 49 hours a week. By way of contrast, the average amount of time that both parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children is 39 minutes a week. If you need more time with your spouse and your kids, make the obvious choice. Instead of watching TV, read together, play board games together, take a walk to a local park, or sit and talk. They need quality and quantity time with loving, involved and committed parents.


Naomi Gibbons Chaplain

Focus on the Family Australia


File downloads:
< back to news

Previous Issues