I’m a sucker for a well-made advertisement, specifically an ad that does the following: makes me think, and as my students say, “gives me ALL the feels.” As an educator, I am constantly evaluating those students’ needs. As a parent, I do the same thing with my kids. I’ll admit, occasionally my job as professor causes me to over-analyze my job as dad in the quest to earn my parenting cape. As silly as it sounds, something as trivial as an ad from an Australian food company can put things into perspective and show us what might be going on in our kids’ minds:
What Kids Want: Quality Time with Us
Yep…it’s an ad, but research bears the premise out. And it’s not just time; it’s quality time. Through her research, Dr. Amy Hsin, a sociologist at Queens College in NYC, highlights what most of us already knew deep down: spending time with kids in front of the TV not only lacks real quality of interaction, but may be “detrimental” to child development. Mealtime – when the family sits and shares a basic human need – this is quality time. This is a chance to ask each other what we learned during the course of the day. We show interest in our kids, in each other. We make eye contact. We laugh. We share exciting stories. We learn about who our kids are becoming…and we do this with no distractions from glowing screens (shut those phones off at mealtime!).
Quality Moments of Connection, not Quantity
In a recent article in the Washington Post, University of Maryland Professor Melissa Milkie encourages parents to find moments of quality connection rather than simple quantity to build strong parent/child relationships.
So, think about the special moments that occur between child and parent in Kindermusik classes: physical connection, singing and moving together, and all of this happening through a time-tested curriculum designed to do exactly what research suggests – provide quality moments between parent and child.
It is these moments that our kids remember – laughing at a silly song, seeing Mom smile, hearing Dad roar like a lion. They are precious images that get filed and called up on the big screen in our kids’ minds. And when we sneak in to check on them as they fall asleep, those smiles we see as the little ones drift off, very well could be due to giggling at dinner time or a replay of “You are my sunshine.”