£46bn: Cost of family failure remains very high

05-Mar-2014

Our annual “Cost of Family Failure Index” continues to receive widespread attention. Most notably it was used by the Department for Education in their evaluation of the cost effectiveness of relationship support services including those provided by Relat...

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A welcome flexing of the muscles

14-Mar-2012

Relationships Foundation welcomes the social justice strategy presented today by Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and chair of the social justice cabinet committee.

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Family policy has become a pawn in coalition politics

19-Dec-2011

In today’s speech on the nature of an Open Society, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg included a widely-trailed swipe at marriage tax allowances, using cheap debating points not worthy of a sixth former.

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The importance of family time

With today's busy lifestyles, many parents and grandparents want to spend more "quality" time with their children or grandchildren. But what is quality time? "Quality time" is time spent doing an activity that is meaningful to the parent and child. It is time when family members really get to know each other. Quality time is spent focusing attention on the other person and sharing thoughts and feelings.

Spending time with our children can be fun and educational for us and for them. Much of the child's basic learning takes place in the many informal situations that occur daily in the life of the family. These informal occasions for learning include all the times the family members are together doing ordinary things, such as getting dressed, talking over the day’s happenings, dealing with problems, interacting with people outside the family, taking baths, eating, and so forth.

The activity does need not be costly, but rather one that satisfies both the parent and the child.

Children need to know they are loved unconditionally. The cry of children today is, "Love me for who I am, not what I do. Love me for being who I am, even when I am naughty, not winning, placing, and showing". That does not mean that you have to approve of everything the child does. What it does mean however, is that even though the child misbehaves, we still love and accept the child and provide support.

Children learn about families from the time they spend in their own families. They learn about birth and caring for another person when a new baby comes home from the hospital. They learn about loss when a family member dies. They learn about marriage and relationships by watching their mothers and fathers interact. By living in a family, children learn to share, how to stand up for their own rights, and how to love another person.

We help children develop positive self-esteem by communicating the value we feel for the child. Words of encouragement and love help provide children with the courage to try new things without worrying excessively about not being able to do them.

Children learn about trust at home from their parents. They learn trust from being trusted. When we trust the child to accomplish a task on his or her own, the child learns that he or she can do the task.

To help our children grow and mature well, we should help children learn about life and living in today's society. The time a parent spends with a child is important. But it can be scary as well. Unstructured time together when the TV is off can be a bit of a shock.

We don't profess to having all the answers but we do hope that some of the suggestions in the Inspiration for family time activities section will give you a helping hand towards making the most of your family's time together.

Back to:

  • The Family Day Bill we have been urging on Parliament