Spending time as a family is fast becoming something that used to happen in the stone age.
Or at least that is how my friend’s son explained it to me. As far as they are concerned, the only interesting thing happening is at the end of their arms (cell phone, tablet, etc.).
To help get around this, I simply hijacked their way of thinking and my own.
Electronics have become a way of life for everyone three and up.
It has distracted people from actually engaging with the people they live with. Then I realized there was plenty of opportunities to create time with my family and it was not anything drastic.
Listen Then Talk
Okay, this one might seem a bit obvious, but you would be surprised at how often families talk at each other and not to each other.
There is as much to learn about the family’s junior members as it is about the adult ones.
Despite those monosyllable responses received when you ask your kid questions, they actually do want to talk to you.
The issue is they “feel” that you (the parent) are going to judge and then flip out on them.
One of the best ways to open up lines of communication is to tell them how your day went, even if it was frustrating. It allows them to understand that every day is not sunshine and roses.
Yes, and the listening part is important. As the talking barrier comes down, other activities are easier to enjoy.
This one is also an obvious choice. However, it does not have to be all about board games or cards.
Game designers come out with family fun games all the time. For those who enjoy being active, find a game (indoors or out) that allows for that. It is a great way to increase confidence, build team spirit, and sponsor healthy habits like losing gracefully.
Family game time does put focus on the gaming environment. Comfortable chairs and good lighting are essential to making sure that everyone is relaxed and engaged. Consider replacing ceiling lights if they are not providing enough light in the room.
In the kitchen, there is a job for every pair of hands. One person can prep ingredients while another stirs the pot and another plays DJ.
You may be surprised to learn that one member of the family is a budding chef, and another can barely turn the stove on. Understanding what family members are good at will lead to other pursuits that play to their strengths and shore up any weaknesses.
Being short on ideas is no reason to abandon the idea. Meal options can be delegated to younger members. Children of all ages like to help; they especially like to feel that their input is valued.
This is another one of those obvious suggestions, especially since walking is just exercise without all the huffing and puffing, plus it is a significant way of providing one on one time with individual members of the family.
Imagine what you might learn about yourself and your children by taking a walk to the corner store.
If the family ventures out, then try stopping at the park or amble along the scenic route on the way. Taking a walk after dinner is a nice alternative to channel surfing.
So this is not the most entertaining option on the list; however, it is an activity that the family can do together.
Consequently, it might be a way to introduce a fun challenge. The “team” who completes their share of the chores first gets to pick desert; or picks the movie everyone watches.
With every hand busy, it reduces the amount of time it takes to complete household tasks and leaves extra time for jumping in the leaf pile. Moreover, it reinforces that every member of the family has responsibilities beyond what they want.
We all wish there was a miracle that would create additional time in the day to spend with our families. The truth is, the best way to create time is to involve the family in the day-to-day activities of the house. It is unreasonable to cook alone when another pair of hands is waiting for a little action.
Oh, and while they are providing assistance, ask how their day went.