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Lesson’s I’ve Learned About Quality Family Time

Before I became a mother, I had these grandiose ideas of what quality family time meant. And when put into practice when I became a mother they were anything but grand. In fact, some of my ideas were just down right ridiculous and certainly not a whole bunch of fun. 

Going out with a baby, or with two small children in tow is not fun. Someone always needs to use the toilet as soon as you’ve pulled out the driveway and that’s after you’ve spent an hour packing a bag of suitable snacks and a change of underpants! Let’s also not forget the crying over how tired someone is 5 minutes after arriving at your destination and spending an afternoon carrying a 15kg toddler on your shoulders, while a great work out, is just horrid.

But my children have taught me a lot about what quality time means to them.

And surprisingly, it’s not the elaborate and expensive outings that count. It’s the simplest things.

This startling realization came to me recently when one of our Friday night traditions was broken.

You see, we love to braai. And every Friday is braai night in our house. We sit out on our patio, in summer the girls swim, Walter and I enjoy a couple of beers or wine and we always listen to music. A couple of months ago, Walter came home after a particularly tough day at the office and he was in a foul mood, he didn’t want to braai and no amount of begging from the girls could change his mind. Ava fetched our wireless speaker and tried to entice him with some music and dancing and he just couldn’t get into it. She was SO disappointed!

My children love to dance!

And they love us to dance with them too!

Our best quality family time is spent around a braai with music and dancing.

I chatted to them about what were some of their favorite things to do with us, as a family and their requests were so ridiculously simple.

  • Getting to go with when I take Layla for a walk.
  • Riding around the corner to the small holding and feeding the rabbits.
  • Visiting our local park.
  • Getting to ride around the block on our bikes or running around the block on a run. 
  • Dancing and braaing.
  • Watching the rugby together and yelling at the TV.
  • Swimming together.

These are the moments they listed as their most cherished. 

And they’re so easy to give and to do. It made me realize that the things my children enjoy the most are just spending time together, laughing together, being silly together, playing together. Of course they love an elaborate outing to, but they’d choose the above activities every day if they could.

What do you do as quality family time together? 



  • Sally

    March 1, 2017 at 8:34 am

    This is so true! We spent a week at Sun City with the amazing water park and everything that it has to offer and when I asked my son (who was 4 at the time) what his favourite part was. He said running in the rain from the bus and getting soaked!

  • Jodie

    March 1, 2017 at 10:43 am

    True story! I often say this – we complain about our budget and not getting to take the kids to fancy restauarants, shows etc., but what matters the most is spending quality time with them 🙂 Even if it’s at home out in the yard. Love the pics of your girls dancing. You can see so clearly how much they love music.

  • Gaelyn Cokayne

    Gaelyn Cokayne

    March 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Oh yes, the elaborate grand plans are more for us than them. We love our mornings squashed in the bed with Kingston and Zara sipping the fancy red cappuccinos dad makes, listening to music or chatting about random things. We also love our family braai nights at home with just us, and watching Bear Grylls programs together!

  • An ordinary gal

    March 1, 2017 at 11:27 am

    I really need to make more of an effort. I use the excuse I’m tired, and let them watch YouTube videos all day…. And I know how much they’d love to spend time with us. I thought I’d be the mom with all these traditions, movie night, braai night, games night…but with 3 kids, it becomes difficult to make sure we do something all 3 can enjoy (though what does a 1yr old know….lol..He is in destroy mode).

    I may steal the Friday night braai idea, my kids love to braai, but I don’t. I stay inside and read a book…. One night I went out, they fetched me a blanket, slippers, juice…all to keep me comfy so I’d sit with them. Oh…I’m an awful mom!! lol

    • Sharon

      March 1, 2017 at 11:44 am

      You’re NOT an awful Mom! You’re a tired Mom. Trust me, I don’t always feel like it. But I think both my girls get their love of music from Me, so even when I’m not in the mood, usually after a few songs played on the speaker, it lifts my mood and I’m happy to participate.

  • Sam

    March 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    It truly is the simple things, Gemma LOVES it when I jump on the trampoline or swim with her and Kade LOVES going for a walk to the park as a family. He also told me the other day his best thing about family is just snuggling together on the couch. Sweet boy.

  • belindamountain

    March 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve also realised this lately! All they want to is the simple things: ride their bikes, walk in the forest, eat an ice-cream, order pizza and watch a movie etc. As long as we are all together – that’s when they have the most fun!

  • dummymommy

    March 2, 2017 at 11:48 am

    My favourite weekend activities include sitting at our new inside/ outside dining room table, braai’ing, swimming and watching the girls play with the sand and water table. Erin got her sand and water table 4 years ago, it’s old, sun damaged and dirty, but Erin and Sienna LOVE playing with it. Toys in it are broken, but they can play for HOURS at their table. They also love playing with mud!

  • Heather

    March 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Good post Sharon. Sometimes we do expect one thing and forget to look at what we have right in front of us. (My husband was also in a foul mood this morning but in the end we still went ahead with our breakfast plans – I guess that is our tradition, even if we have to wait for his cricket to be finished first!)

  • Marko @ Parent Support Hub

    April 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    When you’re with your children, really be with them. That mean you have to put down your phone, switch off the TV and focus on your child. Ask open-ended questions of them and answer their questions to you thoughtfully and thoroughly. Show them that they are a priority in your life.


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