How to Find Family Time
Time is easily one of the most precious commodities a family has. In the frenetic pace of our lives, strung between work, homework, children’s activities, marriage, other family and friends, it’s like running a time management marathon.
However, the key may not be to rearranging your schedule (although that helps too!). It may be about adopting a different approach to the time that you do have.
Quality, not Quantity
When it comes to time together, the focus sometimes is on how much time you can pack in. However, if you manage to connect, but are distracted and focusing on the “next event”, rather than what is going on in the moment, the time is wasted.
Focus instead- on focusing on the task at hand, when it is in front of you. Listen, ask questions- and enjoy each other’s company.
It is hard for kids to talk these days period. It is made easier for them if you have dedicated time to listen.
Talk to those in front of you
When you are trying to be more productive at work, the recommendation is to limit your email and text checking time. Block time to dedicate to a task, without those interruptions.
We become accustomed to having instant access to information and communication, and it can become addictive.
Commit to talking and listening to those in front of you. No calls, emails or texts can be fielded during the time you deem family time. This is about good, old-fashioned conversation.
A very common complaint, amongst the myriad of after-school activities, working overtime and long commutes, is the ability to sit and share dinner together as a family. It’s not about the meal though- it is about the act of sitting and sharing.
How about breakfast instead of dinner? If it works, even an extra 15 minutes in the morning, to chat and share what’s in store for the day can be as effective as sharing at day’s end too.
Another good idea is to schedule a brunch on the weekend. Weekend nights (and early mornings, depending on sports and activities) tend to be hectic. Plan to connect with a little brunch before running your weekend errands.
While gathering the family around the TV to watch a show or a favourite movie is a great idea, don’t overlook the isolating impact that screens can have- whether you are basking in the glow of your smartphone, computer, tablet or TV.
If your time together is limited, ditch the screens and opt for an activity instead.
If the thought of gathering around and chatting has your kids’ eyes glazing over, opt for an activity instead.
Plan a game night, or go for a walk, play some tennis or go for a skate (depending on the season) Take an outing to your local park, and play! The family that plays together stays together!
Volunteer at School
This is a great, albeit somewhat sneaky way to spend time with your kids. If you can be the parent that goes on school trips, or comes in to assist with special activities in the classroom, then do it.
It gives you a chance to share time with (and watch) your child in their environment. It gives you a chance to get to know the people that they interact with every day. It can help you put faces to names for friends- which is helpful the older they get.