The fast pace of modern day family life can make it easy for us to forget that simply spending time with our children is important. The need for quality time with the family should be taken into consideration as many people are overworked, distracted and left wondering if they are spending enough time with their family.
The quality of time spent with the family is important, not necessarily the quantity. Being there for them, being present and aware with your children for at least an hour a day will always supersede the two hours spent in their presence while you are distracted on your phone.
There are a lot of ways to spend time with the family like instead of going out to eat in a restaurant, you could cook dinner together. Instead of malling, you could do an art project. After all, spending time together does not have to cost money. Your time and attention are both free, and those two things are what your kids want the most.
Did you know that we are spending more time with our children than in the past? In 1965, The Economist reports, mothers only spent 54 minutes per day caring for their children, while fathers only spent an average of 16 minutes on child care.
According to research, parents now spend an average of 2.18 hours per day helping and caring for their children. Family time is a significant part of the human developmental process and an important force in developing healthy relationships between husband and wife and between parents and children.
The time you spend together as a family pays huge dividends in terms of your kids’ self-confidence, language skills, and behavior. This also helps strengthen the bonds between you and builds trust, which is vital in keeping communication lines open when your kids enter the adolescent years.
Here are some tips to allot an extra hour everyday to spend with your family:
- Avoid over-scheduling by saying no more often – It is easy for the free time you have to get eaten away by commitments so avoid overscheduling your family by saying no more often. When you say no to people and activities that don’t really matter, you are saying yes to the people and activities that do. Prioritize your family by declining a less important request or invitation.
- Bond with kids through physical play – Children need a healthy dose of physical play every day. According to doctors Anthony T. DeBenedet and Lawrence J. Cohen in a New York Times interview, “roughhousing” provides a number of important benefits such as getting more physically fit, getting loving physical contact from parents and becoming less violent because they tend to learn to tell the difference between roughhousing and aggression. So, get physical with your kids by playing with them. Try tossing them on the couch, playing airplane, or starting a wrestling match!
- Watch TV shows together – Watching TV shows with your kids turn the ordinary screen time to quality time. According to a report by Common Sense Media, children aged 8 and younger spend an average of 2 hours and 18 minutes in front of a screen each day; 72% of this time is spent watching television or videos. Children aged 8 to 12 spend an average of 4 hours and 38 minutes with screen media. Co-viewing with your children can be a great way to socialize and bond, especially if you relate your own life experiences with the scenes that come up during the show.
- Do a hobby together – Spend an hour or two especially on weekends getting involved with what interests your child. Hobbies are more fun when you do them together, and this is a great way to build memories and spend quality time with your kids.
- Teach kids with chores – Involve the kids in doing the chores whether by teaching them how to sweep the floor, folding the laundry, or preparing the dinner table.
It takes awareness and effort to slow down and really be with your kids. Once you decide to spend the time with them, make sure that you are not spending the time just for the sake of it. When you say family time, it must strictly be between you and your family – no office work, TV or smartphones in between. Always remember that!