Making family time a priority

It is easy throughout the year, and even more so during the busy holiday season, to be preoccupied with getting your list of chores and tasks done that you forget to take the time to stop and really just enjoy your family.

The things that we don’t get accomplished during the weekday get pushed to the weekend. And before you know it the weekend is over, and the work/school week starts over.

But spending time as a family strengthens your bonds. It allows you to reconnect as a family. However, you can’t assume it will happen. Too often family time can fall through the cracks. You need to set aside specific time for family. Mark it down on your calendar and make it a priority.

Here are some suggestions of activities for family time.

Eating together

My husband is not a fan of eating at the table as a family. He liked it better when he and I just ate in front of the TV. But I know that eating together away from the distractions of TV and video games is good for our kids. It allows us to slow down and reconnect. It teaches the kids how to have a conversation with each other. Often we use family dinner time to share what happened in our day or talk about upcoming plans. (For tips on establishing family meal times, check out this website.)

Family Outings

Swimming with dolphins during our trip to Grand Cayman.

Swimming with dolphins during our trip to Grand Cayman.

Often, I go places with the kids when on summer or school breaks. We head to the children’s museum, the zoo, the park or the pool. But the times that I think mean the most to them are the ones in which my husband joins us. We don’t often go places with all four of us but every once in a while we go somewhere as a family – Six Flags Amusement Park, Comicon or bowling. And I know those memories stick with the kids as they often talk about them.

Family Vacations

My husband doesn’t always relish the thought of traveling with the kids but every year we plan a family trip. Sometimes it is just to the beach for a weekend, and sometimes it has been to Disney World or a cruise. These times are great for building memories (or pulling your hair out if you are my husband.)

Movie Night

For a while, we instituted a movie night. We rotated who picked the movie, but it was set that every Friday we would have pizza and watch a movie together. It worked for a little over a year but now the kids argue too much about which movie has been chosen that we have reduced movie time to monthly.

CIMG0693Not interested in watching a movie together? You might consider game night instead. Or even family gardening time or take a martial arts or archery class together. Even just a family walk after dinner can be a great way to get some exercise and spend time together.

The main thing is to remember to set aside some time and spend it with your family. Turn off the electronics, look up from your phone, ignore Facebook and just enjoy the moment with those you love.