Making Quality Memories

By: Peter Wright

We owe a lot to our parents for making us who we are, and our children will be affected by the lessons we pass on and the time we spend together. We tend to draw on examples from our own upbringings, but we can benefit from recent research and promising practices on parenting techniques. A recent longitudinal study has revealed that it is far less important how much time parents spend with their children than the type of time they spend together.

There are many reasons why I am excited to be a part of the Cat & Owl Co. team, and a big one is that we are committed to helping parents spend quality time with their children by providing simple, cost effective, and, most importantly, enjoyable games that families can play together during those random blocks of time between going here or there.

Science has mostly agreed on the positive impacts of three activities between parent and child: reading together, engaging one-on-one, and sharing meals. It has largely been an assumption that more is better. In an article in the Journal of Marriage and Family, three professors reported convincing evidence that is counter-intuitive to this assumption. That is, more time may not be the key to our children’s success, but rather the quality of that time.

Parents can give themselves a break and need not feel guilty about late work nights or time spent taking care of their own needs so long as they use the time they do have with their children in smart and positive ways. Of course spending time with our children is important and valuable, but don’t underestimate the power of quality over quantity when it comes to spending time together.

The COCO team has spent a lot of time thinking about and testing new ways to engage with math concepts in under 10 minutes. But these games are not just about math -- they are about spending quality time with our children and enjoying the process of watching them learn, struggle and, in some cases, digress wildly off-topic sometimes in creative, interesting and funny ways. For instance, a recent game of “What’s In The Cup?” between the husband of a COCO co-founder and his son turned into a game of “Dinosaur Parade,” which resulted in a sweet conversation about the young boy’s favorite book about dinosaurs.

At the end of the day, while we may want to take our kids for several-hour excursions to the zoo or park, that’s not always feasible. Embrace whatever time you do have to spend and seize the 10 minute breaks. And don’t forget the fun!