How Much Time Should Parents Spend With Their Children?

Groundbreaking new research reveals whether quality may be more important than quantity.
4:38 | 03/30/15

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Transcript for How Much Time Should Parents Spend With Their Children?
taking a closer look how the amount of time spent with your kids may not be as important as you think. ABC's Cecilia vagega has the detail details. The cause of stress and guilt for parents everywhere but should it be? A new study is changing what parents think they know about spending time with their kids. The amount of time spent with children has been on the climb since 1985. But this first large scale study of its kind says it's not the amount of time you spend with kids between 12 and 18 years old, but the quality of what you do together that matters most. Small amount of time that you do share with them, you make sure it counts. The authors cat Gorr rise that time in two ways. Accessible time, time where the parents are physically available to their children and engaged time where the parent and child spend time to do something together. I would like a whole day where my family gives me undivided attention. A whole day, huh? Are you sure that's what you want brick? I wouldn't rule out go-karting. For "Good morning America" Se sealee Vega. Joining us now is ABC news medical editor Dr. Richard Besser. What I just saw a few hours ago Andrew Shu my husband and the founder of cafe mom who along with me has learned a thing or two about raising our kids together. A lot of them. Yes, a lot. How surprised are you about these findings? Not so much surprised as I am reassured. You know, there's more and more evidence that it's the quality of time we spend with our kids rather than the amount of time. So many parents don't have control over how many minutes they have but we have control over what the interaction is like. A few quick tips on how to make the most of the time. First is when you're with your kids be present, be there. So it means shut off the electronics and be in the moment. You see so many people at the park and they're on their electronics. The second is do things together and they can been simple things. We loved Reading to our children every night. Doesn't take a lot of time. But we would each read and that kind of interaction is so intense and important. Have a meal together. Maybe once a week. And then the third is our kids spend so much time out of the house, connect with their teachers so you know what's going on in their life. You may not not get to every parent/teacher meeting but connect by e-mail. You were talking about a lot of kids. Five between the two of you. Between 8 and 18. Andrew, how have you been able to spend that meaningful time with the children? I would say we all feel guilty. The good news now is we're all off the hook. We just kick them out the door like our parents did. No. We can't do that because we want to do more. The weird thing with us is we can't do enough. We just feel like we want to do more. Amy does so much with her girls and still feels like it's not enough. I think it says something about us. We want to give them so much. The idea is their going to succeed if they have balance. If you go over the top, the balance isn't there. I think the memorable things is right. I remember the one summer my mom read this one book to me. If you just did something twice a week for a half an hour and you did it consistently, just twice a week with your kid -- That's our thing. That's our thing with that kid. Whatever it is. Just a realistic goal. And just relax. Because in the distress it causes more problems. So many parents especially moms beat themselves up and think I have to be super woman and work full time and spend as much time as every other mother I see. There's no one way to parent. Many different ways it could be successful and you can raise children self confident and lead productive lives. And independent. Exactly. Take a breath and give yourselves a bit of a break. My mom always tells me that. Give yourself a break. Does she do it Andrew? She does. But I think the final thing. I do. The one thing that's true is about the example. If you set an amazing example where you're a hard worker you have a life, you have a career, and you're there in those moments where you're focus and turned off the devices. Job well done. You set a great example, everything will be fine. Great point. I feel so much better. Thank you both.

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