In more recent reports, American households are spending just an average of 37 minutes of family time per day. Most families will say that the reason why they spend so little time with each other is either due to the parents’ hectic work schedules, or the children’s busy schedules at school.
Families still struggle to find time to bond even on weekends. While the average time spent together does increase during the weekends, it is still hampered by the number of chores and problems with the home (for example, leak detection services should be hired to avoid dealing with water issues on your own) that need to be accomplished over the weekend.
The family is the foundation upon which societies are built upon. Without proper quality time, families will be unable to create and foster individuals that can contribute to society as a whole. Here are a few things that can help improve a family’s lifestyle and help family members spend more time together.
Playtime with kids
Playtime is a very important part in the development of a child. Engaging in play helps promote the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of children. Play also allows parents to engage fully with their children. Families living in prefab homes can make use of the open floor concept by playing games like Twister. Parents can even try building a blanket or pillow fort and spend the day inside it with the kids.
The use of multiplayer game consoles like the Nintendo Switch can allow parents to bond with their children using a platform that their children are more familiar with. This can help children develop confidence in their communication skills. Games that require movement like the Just Dance series can also promote the physical well-being and hand-eye coordination of developing children.
Mealtime is family time
In more recent years, family members are spending less and less time around each other. Whether it’s due to parents having overscheduled daily lives, or children being burdened with too much homework, most families rarely find time to eat together.
Research, however, has shown that families should be spending more time eating together. Research conducted by Harvard has shown that families who eat together are more likely to meet their daily nutrition needs than those who do not. Eating together also allows for families to build a stronger foundation of belongingness and foster self-esteem and better familial relationships.
When planning family mealtimes, make sure to schedule it at least a day before. Focus on getting the family all together at the dining table rather than making the meal an elaborate one. Avoid using electronic gadgets while at the dining table. Give children a role in the family meal, whether it’s by setting the table or preparing food.
Go on trips or excursions.
One of the best ways to improve family life is to create more shared experiences. These shared experiences can allow families to bond over common ground, and help strengthen family ties. Family psychologists suggest engaging in activities that can involve the entire family.
Going on trips or excursions is a great way to create shared experiences for the family. Going on an outdoor nature trip not only allows the family to bond by bringing the family to a new environment, but a nature trip molds children to have a better understanding of the world they live in and the many different ways of life that exist outside of the culture they embody.
Because outdoor trips or excursions often come with unexpected situations or disagreements among family members. But dealing with these surprises as a family helps children learn the importance of tolerance and respectfulness, and molds them as better members of society as a whole.
Tidying up together
A lot of parents and children are in agreement that household chores are not the most fun activity to do. The reason why chores are often considered taxing is that families rarely do it together.
But based on one of the popular hit shows from Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, organizing and cleaning can become an effective method to bring families closer together. Cleaning the house should not be a responsibility left solely for the parents–children can help out too. Studies have shown that engaging children in household chores teach them important life skills that they can use in their adult life. Start by giving them age-appropriate tasks; leave the heavy lifting to Mommy or Daddy.
Every family has at least one junk drawer or a chair where clothes get dumped on. Setting aside time in a week to have the family organize these spaces where junk accumulates is a great way to clean the house together. Organizing junk drawers may also spark some memories, as some of these items may be mementos or keepsakes that have been set aside and forgotten.
Health Impacts of Quality Time
Studies have shown that spending time together as a family not only brings family members closer together and forge stronger family ties, but it also increases the overall health and happiness of each family member.
Constant communication, haptic feedback, and an atmosphere of warmth, safety, and security can trigger the release of serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters are responsible for eliciting feelings of well-being and happiness. Dopamine, in particular, plays a huge role in specific body functions relating to learning and memory.
Through constant exposure to positive experiences as a family, these neurotransmitters can help promote healthier cognitive development in children and prevent maladaptive psychological coping mechanisms. Having a family to count on during bad times can also reduce the likelihood of developing mental health problems.
It’s important as families to set aside time to spend time with each other. Parents should learn not to take their children for granted. Children grow up so fast, and before they know it, parents become empty nesters as their kids have grown up and gone on to create families of their own. Children should also not take their parents for granted. Parents will not be around for forever, and it’s important for both parents and children to cherish and support each other.