Here are six ways to carve out a little more family time.
1. Share a family meal
Getting together daily to share food breeds family intimacy and bonding and has enormous benefits for children. In “The Magic of the Family Meal” in Time Magazine, Nancy Gibbs writes:
“The more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.
2. Take a daily walk
Incorporating a regular family walk into your schedule is a great way to bond with your family and get some daily exercise. And if you take it after dinner, it will also aid digestion.
3. Start a family reading tradition
Carving out some daily read-aloud time for the whole family has many benefits. It creates lifelong readers, develops focus and listening skills, builds literacy skills, breeds the imagination, and it can encourage relaxation and restful sleep. Want to know more? I wrote about it here.
4. Turn TV time into togetherness time
In a study of the daily activities of 1712 kids between the ages of 0 and 12, the more time kids spent watching TV, the less time they spent interacting with their parents and siblings. Of course, you can use television to spend more quality time with your kids, not less.
Here are a few basic tips:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under 2.
- Restrict viewing time for older kids to 1-2 hours of quality television a day.
- Find shows that engage your child intellectually or physically.
- Watch TV together and talk about it afterward.
- Read aloud about the same subjects your child learns about on TV.
5. Institute an electronic sunset
If too much television, computer, or video gaming is getting in the way of family time, consider designating a time each night (like 7:00 p.m.) to shut off all of the electronics, phones included.
6. Plan some adventures
It’s wintertime, and it’s easy to fall into a routine rut. Stave off those winter doldrums by planning some family fun, like a stargazing date, a trip to a museum or aquarium, a nature hike, or a day trip.
Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you have any tips?