One-on-one time leads to lasting memories.

How Not Spending Time With Your Child Affects Them

by Amy Phoenix

Have you ever heard the sayings, "Time is a precious commodity" or "Children spell love T-I-M-E"? How often have you felt that you just don't have enough time? In our busy lives, we can often push aside the need for simple one-on-one connection with our children. This detracts from our child's experience and growth. Thankfully, we can counter this by learning new ways to connect that work for both parent and child.

Behavior Problems

Children who crave their parents' attention may act out for two reasons. First, they might feel unhappy because they are not getting all of their needs met. Connection with a loving parent is very important to children. Second, they may act in ways that are sure to get some sort of attention to experience connection. Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist who writes for the website Relationship Rx, shares that although behavior problems can be due to other factors outside of not spending enough time with children, it may be related and is definitely worth considering.


While behavior problems may be a sign for some, if your child is hiding out in books, games or other activities, he could be experiencing withdrawal due to not having enough time with you. He may feel like he's not important enough to be worthy of your time or that you don't want to spend time with him. Anderson suggests reducing your family's outside commitments, so you have time to connect while actually doing some things together that your child enjoys. For example, take him out to play catch or for a chat over ice cream.

Decreased Learning

Poor school performance can be a sign that your child needs more focused attention from you. Some kids really need encouragement with school, especially with some subjects. Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller, authors and parent educators who write at, suggest creating a "feed your brain" time for everyone in the home. Grab a book or note paper for yourself and invite your child to do his homework at the table with you. Even if he doesn't need your help, you will be offering your presence and spending valuable time learning together.

Start With 10 Minutes

According to child psychologist Laura Markham, who writes at Aha, parents can begin to notice benefits for themselves and their children by starting to spend ten minutes of one-on-one special time with their child each day. Special time consists of scheduling at least ten minutes to focus just on your child. The first time, let your child lead and really observe while you interact. Appreciate your child as is and shower him with your love. Let him know you will be doing this daily and that you'll take turns leading. Have fun, laugh and hold him if he cries.

About the Author

Amy Phoenix began writing professionally in 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including Mothering. Phoenix is a certified parent educator, trained meditation facilitator, and enjoys writing about natural health, parenting, spirituality, and organization.

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