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Spending time with family helps our kids feel safe and connected. Click through to get our list of fun activities! See how easy it is to spend time together.
Sometimes, in the busyness of life, spending time with family falls down our list of priorities.
Several years ago, we were a busy clergy family with so many demands on our time. One day, after seeing us make time over and over again for the people of our parish, one of my boys asked, “When do we get to be parishioners?”
The question broke my heart. In an instant I saw how fast his childhood was flying by and how much I had already missed. On that day I vowed to put aside the busyness and spend time with my boys.
I never regretted it.
Looking back, I know it was the right choice and something I would do over if I had the chance to try again.
If you struggle to carve out time to spend with family, you should know it’s easy to find that time, and find things to do. It’s actually important for your mental wellbeing, and for your family’s as well.
Easy ways for Families to Spend Time Together
Sometimes just knowing what you can do is the first step
For a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Spending time together as a family doesn’t have to be hard. You can take just a few minutes and make your kid’s day. Remember that your phone isn’t helping you make memories (unless it’s helping record them). You don’t want to miss those memories because your face is stuck in social media.
Start Small – A Few Minutes at a Time!
Start small if you have to (or need to!) and just give your child a bear hug – with your arms wrapped around them and squeezing them tight (and maybe make them – or you – giggle).
Or tell jokes… I loved it when my boys were just learning how to tell jokes! Children love puns and sometimes my boys would laugh so hard at their own jokes you couldn’t understand what they were saying! Giggles are infectious and I oftentimes laughed alongside of them with no idea why! Instant connection 🙂
26 Easy Ways to Spend Time With Your family
They may groan when you say “quality family time!” but most kids (and grown ups!) still get a grin on their faces as they ready for whatever comes next. Every moment spent together builds memories that last a lifetime. Here’s 26 easy ways to spend quality time with your family.
- Introduce your kids to the joy of secret codes and send messages back and forth.
- Read a book together.
- Get messy with them, splash in puddles, finger paint, make mud pies, or something gooey to eat.
- Visit the library together. Look at the new books together, giggle at the comic books, and find books on the child’s latest interest or play with the library toys.
- Talk together. Let your children tell you about video games, books, and friends at school. Ask questions and encourage them to share their dreams, hopes, and concerns. LISTEN!
- Share your music and ask them to share their own. Introduce them to the music of your teenage years – who knows, they may like it!
- Use car rides as an opportunity to connect. Sing silly songs, play word games, or chat together.
- Do an art project together and learn more about your kids in the process.
- Leave love notes in their lunch box or on their pillow.
- Play together. Get active with them, skip rope, play ball, roll down hills, go cycling, roller-skating, or tobogganing
- Have a special bedtime routine.
- Build a fort in the living room. Grab the blankets and go to town!
- No matter whose music it is, you can’t go wrong having a dance (or karaoke) party! Turn the music up and see who can be the silliest. Show off dance moves. It doesn’t matter how you look or sound if you are having fun with your family!
- Be available when they get up in the morning and have breakfast together. If you have to leave early for work leave a note wishing them a good day.
- Make ice cream (maybe eat them in the fort for a fun change).
- Bring out some board games such as Snakes and Ladders.
- Better yet make your own board game.
- Blow bubbles together.
- Play with a frisbee, launch a kite into the air, or just go for a walk.
- Make a fairy house
- Try some land art
- Make paper boats and sail them
- Try some science experiments.
- Cook something over a fire pit.
- Create some kindness clips to give away.
- Make some comic strips together.
These and countless other moments of connection help build memories, cement relationships and build a solid foundation for the future.
Ready To Have Fun With Your Kids?
Sign up and you’ll receive an email each day (for a week). each one contains a simple activity that you can enjoy with your kids.
The Benefits of Spending Time with Family
Form relationships that last and help your family build resilience
Playing with the kids is more than just a good time, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Their studies suggest that playing with the kids increases a child’s mental health and strengthens the bond between family members.
Beyond that, spending time together as a family helps build self esteem, combat stress, and curb destructive behaviors (like substance abuse) according to recent studies
Youths who experience higher levels of parental involvement and a closer relationship with theirFamilyFacts.org Brief: Parental Involvement and Children’s Well-Being
parents are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems and to engage in risk behaviors. In addition,
they tend to achieve better grades and higher levels of education and to experience better emotional
The Importance of Spending Time with Family
Spending quality time with family strengthens the bond between family members, creates memories, and helps kids feel loved and appreciated.
Moments stolen when your family is waking up, eating, going to bed, and everything in between create the foundation upon which you build a strong family. The trust built within those moments will soften teenage angst and hurt feelings.
What are the warning signs I’m not spending enough time with family?
Remember my son’s innocent question?
He had seen us make time for the people of the parish. Now he wanted to know, “When will you make time for me?”
It broke my heart and galvanized me into making changes. On that day I vowed to put aside the busyness and spend time with my boys.
Maybe you haven’t had this kind of wakeup call, though; how can you tell if you aren’t spending enough time with your family?
1. Are Your Children Acting Out?
Did you know that children act out and act up when they are feeling disconnected from us?
Many things can cause that sense of disconnection: busy schedules, lack of meaningful conversation, or too much screen time.
Signs that your children feel disconnected include:
- Pushing the limits of acceptable behavior
- Lashing out
- Becoming super clingy
- Any of those sound familiar?
2. Your Schedule is Too Full
I have seen this first hand … the feeling of overwhelm that comes from a schedule that is crammed full to bursting. You know that you need to spend time with your children.
You simply cannot cram One-More-Thing-Into-Your-Life.
Does your schedule causes you to feel too busy or tired to spend time with your family? Then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate how you spend your time.
TRY THIS: A simple hack to help you prioritize and make time for what is important (free printable).
3. Screens Take over Family Life
This is a biggie!
Have screens taken over your family life? Do you spend more time on your screens than with your family? Are screens on during family meals? If yes then it’s time to examine the way we use our technology.
4. Family Expressing Resentment
My son noticed that his dad spent a lot of time attending to the needs of parishioners. He wanted some of that attention.
Do you feel resentment over the lack of time with your partner or your children?
What about your children?
Do your children or partner complain that you are always busy? Do they moan about having to do certain things?
Listen up! This is a really important sign that you need to spend more time doing activities together. It is a clear indicator that a conversation and balance are needed.
5. No Meaningful Conversation
When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your children? With your life partner?
Be honest now!
- Do you know what is going on in their lives?
- Have you heard about their joys and challenges?
- Can you name their fears and hopes?
If the answer is no it could be a sign that you need to spend extra time with your child or partner.
TRY THIS: How to Really Listen
Build those family relationships
Close family relationships are built, moment-by-moment, from shared experiences.
It’s like falling in love.
If we want these kinds of deep connections, we have to give our time to those we love.
It’s really easy to fall out of the habit of spending time together.
If you can only do one thing each day I urge you to simply spend time with your family. Nothing is more important.
The most important thing your children want is your time and presence. They just want to be with you. If you can only do one thing each day I would urge you to make time for them. Slow down, shut off the outside world for a while, and enjoy their company. You won’t regret it.
What will your children remember?
That you were held captive by your to do list, always trying to tick off “just one more thing” or that you invited your children to put on their old clothes and go out into the bush for an impromptu adventure ?
That you were too busy answering numerous texts and e-mails to even notice your children calling your name – or that you pulled out the action figures and helped them win the battle for the future of the universe?
Watch the magic happen
When you slow down and make time to be with your family, you’ll find your life becomes rich and full. You’ll experience precious moments of connection, which are all too easy to miss in our distracted world. You will discover what is really important.
Isn’t it worth it?