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Ask Nicole: 30 Days of Quality Time

As parents, we know how easy it is to get caught up in everyday life. Whether it’s chores, homework, kids’ activities, or work, some days it seems like we only see our children in the early hours before they go to school or we go to work, and at night before they go to bed. But as long as we remember to spend quality time with them, we stay connected as a family.


The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program defines Quality Time as brief and frequent amounts of time with children, focused on something they’re interested in. Quality time can also be for longer amounts of time. The key is to show you’re available when your child needs you. This builds positive relationships and helps prevent challenging behaviors.


In recognition of April as Month of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, we’re sharing 30 ideas for Quality Time – one for each day of the month. These ideas work for kids of all ages, and most cost nothing but time.


1.    Stop and listen. When your child needs you, stop what you’re doing, make eye contact and listen (instead of saying “in a minute”).

2.    Make a meal together. Let your child pick the food.

3.    Go to a park. Visit a neighborhood or state park.

4.    Go on a walk or hike. Walk in your neighborhood, at the beach, or in the forest. Discuss what you see.

5.    Explore local museums. The Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery and Seymour Marine Discovery Center have free or low-cost admission.

6.    Do chores together. Make it fun by talking or listening to music.

7.    Play a sport together. This is a fun way to stay active as a family, even if you’re not a natural athlete.

8.    Volunteer together. Pick a nonprofit to support as a family.

9.    Play games. Play cards, board games, video games or make up your own.

10. Do a home improvement project. It’s a great way to spend time together and teach valuable skills.

11. Tell each other stories. Tell true stories or imagine one together.

12. Look at family photos. Take turns talking about your favorites.

13. Play music. Make a family playlist, then sing and dance together!

14. Plant a garden. Let your child pick out seeds to plant together, then watch the garden grow.

15. Read together. Take turns reading out loud, or read silently next to each other.

16. Give each child one-on-one time before bed. Whether it’s snuggling or just a quick hug, spend time together before the lights go out.

17. Have a picnic. Grab a blanket, some food, and head outdoors.

18. Teach each other something new. Take turns showing each other a new skill.

19. Sing together. Have you seen those videos of parents and kids singing in the car or in front of a mirror? Do that.

20. Attend community events. Check out Growing Up in Santa Cruz or Santa Cruz Parent to find fun, free events.

21. Go on a “date” with your child. Schedule special alone time with each child.

22. Eat a meal together. Turn off all electronics and discuss the day.

23. Write notes or draw pictures. Write an “I love you” note or draw pictures to show you care.

24. Visit your local library. From books to story time to homework help, libraries offer something for everyone.

25. Have a marathon movie (or TV) night. Reconnect, relax, sing along, and laugh together after a busy week.

26. Go on a walking “tour.” Pick a few local places of interest, then explore on foot.  

27. Look at the stars. Let your kids stay up to watch the stars appear.

28. Look at a map together. Teach your child how to read a map. Explain where you live.

29. Have a family meeting. This is a great time for everyone to discuss issues, coordinate schedules, create rules, or make decisions.

30. Just hang out. Give yourselves a break. Sit, relax, and enjoy each other’s company!



Final Thoughts: Quality Time is one of the simplest and most effective parenting strategies available. Try these ideas, then keep adding to this list!


10 Quality Time - April 2024 - TriplePNews (Eng)
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This monthly column provides tips for anyone who is helping raise children, based on the world-renowned Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, available to families in Santa Cruz County. If you have a question or idea for a future column, please email


Yesenia Gomez-Carrillo is the mother of a 22-month-old daughter and the Triple P Program Manager for First 5 Santa Cruz County. Nicole Young is the mother of two young adults, who managed Santa Cruz County's Triple P program for over 10 years. Scientifically proven, Triple P is made available locally by First 5, the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department. To find a Triple P parenting class or practitioner, visit,, or contact First 5 Santa Cruz County at 465-2217 or


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