Its all too easy in todays fast paced world to let family time slip.
Everyone has their own busy schedules, even the little ones seem to have something every day! its no wonder that family time can end up at the bottom of the list.
Here are a few simple ideas that you can implement in your own family to ensure you get as much family time as possible – hope they help!
#1 – Prioritise family time
As already said, its too easy for family time to slip to the bottom of priorities in homes, and as such its important to place more emphasis on keeping it as number one – rather than fitting it in only if everything else allows.
Mark out a time in the weekly diary so that you don’t make any other arrangements. If all family member know to keep this time free, then you will be able to do some great family things that will keep you all talking and close.
What about a Sunday roast or a regular games/film night – think of something that works for the ages of your children and is fun!
Set specific times in the day / week for homework, TV, Playing, Hobbies etc… – Children work best with routines.
#2 – Plan ahead
When you have managed to get a time slot in the week devoted to family time – ensure that you use it well.
Try and get everyone involved and excited about what you are going to do – obviously this depends on the age of your children – if everyone has different tastes in what they want to do then either pick something everyone will find new, or take it in turns to choose what to do.
A great tip is to have a box where everyone can write down suggestions of what they would like to do – you can pick one a week and plan it in – that way everyone gets a say.
#3 – Spend time with everyone
Try and ensure you spend time with everyone in your family – including your partner, your children individually, and the family as a whole.
Get to know each person in your family as an individual, and it will improve your relationships, communication and happiness.
Its also worth remembering that everyone won’t react to things the same way, and therefore you should be aware of what works for each person.
#4 – Equal is best
When you have more than one child its so important to show them equal attention. Try and ensure that you give every member of the family equal amounts of your time as much as possible.
#5 – Focus, Focus, Focus!
When you are spending time with your family, its so important to let them know that they are important.
This isn’t through what you do or what you spend on them – its about giving them undivided attention.
If you are eating at the table – have a no phone policy, if you are reading with one child then do this in a quiet room where you are less likely to have to shout/talk with others and interrupt the story.
Giving this sort of attention to your family will pay dividends in feeling part of a strong unit.
#6 – Family calendars work!
Ensure your children are aware of whats going on each week – have a family calendar on show somewhere where it will be seen (in the kitchen where everyone has breakfast is a good idea).
If they are aware of busy days etc… they will be able to see why you have to say NO sometimes to things they want to do.
#7 – Multitask where possible
Even the most time starved families can add some family time into their days if its carefully thought out.
A great multitasking time could be preparing the evening meal. The family can help set the table, cut up veg, cook etc… – and you always get chatting casually when you are in the same room – you never know what you may find out!
I’ve also heard of a great idea that I am going to try when my daughter is a little older – a lady in a magazine was explaining that she always found it hard to go on a run without feeling guilty about taking time away from the family. That was until her son was climbing the walls one day bored – so she suggested he came with her. The running, fresh air, and the fact that they didn’t have to talk meant that she had the best conversation with him that she’d ever had. It took the pressure off. Food for thought…
#8 – Make memories
Families are strong when they create bonds with each other – and making shared memories is one of the best ways to do this.
Start some traditions in your family – Easter / Christmas / Birthdays are all easy to start with – and your children will start to expect these traditions and look forward to them.
#9 – Don’t do it all yourself
Creating family time has to be a joint effort.
If you are chasing your tail constantly with household chores and errands, start to get the family involved in these – so you end up with more time for the fun stuff altogether as well.
This will not only teach your children that a home doesn’t run itself, but it will also teach them responsibility and teamwork – and what could be better than that!
If you explain that getting certain jobs done will allow you to do something with them afterwards, this is often incentive enough for younger children especially.
#10 – Get organised!
Often we sign children up to classes after school and at the weekends thinking that we are doing the best for them by enhancing and growing their skills etc…
However, becoming a taxi service constantly can take it out of the best of parents!
Getting organised about what is done and when can really help to carve out more time in the weekly schedule for most families.
Can you find classes that coincide in terms of when and where they are? Often a gym can provide classes for different ages in a variety of different choices all under the same roof. Or what about simply finding classes nearer your home – rather than driving so far to a specific one.
Ask yourself whats important, and you can really get the balance between each persons hobbies, classes and social lives – along with all important family time.
Creating bonds that last a lifetime between siblings and children can be the best skill you could offer your children as they grow up – surely that makes family time worth prioritising?