As I’ve grown older family has become much more important to me. One of the things I’ve noticed is how often most of us, myself included, confuse down time with quality time. I often find myself having a coffee engrossed into my favorite book with family around – but is this really quality time?

 

Like many things in life there are many shades of grey. To me what constitutes quality time is when we really connect with one another, strengthening the bond we share. So no books or newspapers, unless you are having an interesting discussion about the content. Similarly, if you are simply in each others company but not really doing much or even talking I would argue that this is down time and not really quality time. It’s so important to spend quality time together as opposed to just down time as during quality time we share our interests and passions – strengthening our bond and showing our love for one another on a deeper level.

 

For example, your mom watching her favorite TV show can be quality time if, as a gesture of love, you choose to watch it because you know she likes it so much and you have fun from seeing her enjoy herself. However, if we have an attitude whereby we are enduring it begrudgingly then quickly it becomes down time and is spent watching the clock.

 

Obviously we can’t all enjoy the same things and compromise is critical with family (especially over the holidays) but if we can foster an attitude whereby we derive satisfaction from our family’s enjoyment of their favorite activities, we are much more likely to spend quality time with them. Likewise, negotiating to spend some time doing what you consider to be quality time is just as important (my guilty pleasure is watching bad Christmas movies with my parents).

 

Have you ever confused down time with quality time? How different is your idea of quality time as opposed to your parents? Do you make a point of compromising on how you and your family spend quality time together? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.