For most of us, finding family time is difficult, leave alone quality family time. With our busy schedules, we tend to lose focus on spending family time with our loved ones, even though we want to.
Time is a precious commodity, especially for parents – and that is what often eludes us. Most parents always wish they had more time to spend with their families, but even if they can’t, it doesn’t mean they don’t love them.
I’d say creating quality family time is also an art because you need to craft it out of seemingly nowhere! You need to be creative in planning out activities and find ways to involve your kids in normal daily activities, without needing an extra time slot for family time.
Why Do We Need Family Time?
Spending time with your family is vital for the overall development and happiness of your children. Most kids let you know in their own ways if they feel you are not giving them enough time or attention.
Some kids tend to withdraw while others may “act-out.” A few kids may get into unnecessary fights, while some tend to bed-wet, cry, throw tantrums, which are some ways to get your attention so that they can enjoy ‘quality or focused’ time with you.
“Your children can be around you all day, but if you don’t spend quality time with them and you don’t pay attention to them and talk to them and listen to them, it doesn’t matter that they’re just around you.” ~ Brandy Norwood
I remember there was a time when I used to get too busy and involved in work, which is when my kids used to do things to distract me or get my attention – because I wasn’t giving it to them.
Thankfully now they are grown and have made me realize to stop all work and give them full attention, even when they don’t ask for it!
I guess children tend to think that if they can’t get your attention by doing something good, they can do so by doing something bad.
Thus, you need to start building relationships with your family early, which you can do once you are able to take out time for them.
There are some times when you may not be able to do it, but there are other times when you choose not to spend time together as a family when you could.
You may like to read my earlier post about why family time is important, after which I’m sure today’s post would hold more meaning as it would make you realize the importance of your family.
What Does Quality Time Mean?
To be able to take out quality time for your family is essential. But what does the phrase ‘quality time’ mean? To most people it means uninterrupted, concentrated time to spend with their children, family, spouses, and friends.
Quality family time should ideally be a relaxed one, free of conflicts, and the time when you can have meaningful conversations or do things with your loved ones.
It is often believed that this time should make up in quality for what is missed in quantity. However, you may not be able to spend that kind of time with your family, which then leads to guilt and resentment.
“Family isn’t about whose blood you have. It’s about who you care about.” ~ Trey Parker and Matt Stone
It even becomes tough to create family bonding time because as children get older, they get more engaged in other activities and school. And parents expect their children to be in a good mood if any event or activity is planned for the family as such, which doesn’t always happen.
However, to spend quality family time, you as parents need to set limits and rules that are maintained and followed, which makes children feel more secure and happy.
Also, quality time spent with your family doesn’t have to be a planned activity or a specific agenda to follow, nor do you need an entire day to spend some real quality time with your family.
Instead, it means spending time that is worthwhile and means something, which can be varied and spontaneous in length from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the circumstances.
Ways to Create Quality Family Time
Now that you know how important it is to bond with the family – what do you exactly do?
Well, there are various ways to have a nice time together with your family and kids. While some of them will leave happy memories imprinted in everybody’s minds, some will get embed and result in good habits.
1- Get the kids involved
A good way to maximize family time is to involve your kids in helping you with small errands. Some ways where kids can always help–
- Fold clothes and do their beds.
- Lay out the table.
- Put their toys in the proper place.
- Sort out their study table and books.
- Chop vegetables or fruits.
- Help you cook, or just as this video shows, you could enjoy cooking with them and teach them a few things too. Speaking of which, my kids love to cook with me too!
When you involve the kids, you turn the simple chores into family bonding activities where you teach valuable skills to your kids, and teach them to become independent also.
I started teaching my kids to help out in the household chores when they were small, and now it’s become a habit with them. Besides that we enjoy being and doing things together, which is what matters most – isn’t it?
To make family time fun, you can invent a family clean-up game, where elders and children compete to see who comes first by doing things the fastest, or make up a family song that you can sing while you work together.
Anything works, as long as it keeps you together as a family and makes your work enjoyable.
2- Completely unplug from the world
You don’t need occasions, vacations, or holidays to spend time with family. Simple things like gardening, Sunday breakfast, weekend movies or shopping, or having your dinner together can be taken as family bonding time.
However, ensure that whatever tradition you choose to connect, everyone, including parents and all other family members, respect a set time.
It should be a time when everyone should show up and disconnect from the external world. This means to ‘unplug’ – where there is no Facebook, no TV, no texting, no computer, no phones, no work, nothing, except spending time with family and enjoying being together.
3- Find ways to connect
When you want to connect with your family, you can find many ways of doing so like -
- Help your kids with homework.
- Enjoy a hobby together.
- Volunteer to help at school, or help kids with their extracurricular activities.
- Travel or plan a camping trip.
- Share your meals together.
- Walk, exercise, or walk your pet together.
- Lie on the couch, listen to and share stories, read books, and just talk to one another.
- Go out for picnics or visit places together.
- Have a family game night out together.
- Tuck your kids in bed and talk about the day.
- Plan a vacation or discuss about what you plan doing for the weekend.
Some more family bonding time activity ideas can be found here. And I loved this video about family activities that tells you about simple activities for family bonding like sharing family dinners, working together, reading to kids, driving together, and even wrestling!
“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.” ~Thomas Jefferson
So, even though you have lots of distractions and busy schedules, it is possible to find that quality time for your family that’s important for children as indicated here.
You can take out the time for your family by adjusting your routine a little, which will give you the time to recapture and reconnect with your families. And don’t forget to become better parents to your kids too, something that all of us need to be!
There are many activities to share with your family, and take advantage of the quality time spent with your loved ones as mentioned here.
Remember, when you spend quality time with your family and kids, you give them the opportunity to learn and be heard. Also, when you connect, it makes your children feel loved and wanted. So, take time to enjoy your family, because this precious time once lost – never returns.
Hope that you never have to say –
“If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.” ~Diane Loomans
Over to you –
How do you take out quality family time for your loved ones? Do you believe it’s important to spend time with your family? Share your experiences and ways in which you take out family time in the comments below.