In a world where social media rules, families are losing touch with each other.
The only way to counteract the erosion of the family unit is to be intentional about spending time together, talking, having fun, learning together.
If children don’t find companionship and sympathy in their parents and in their home, they will look to other sources for these needs.
As parents, you need to be companions for your children, winning their love and affection, so you can counteract the influences they are bombarded with daily.
As parents, we often fall into the habit of giving orders and getting stuff done. But we must win our children’s hearts.
A great way to do this is through family time.
Spending time together as a family is not just for having fun. It cements the family together, creating a bond that makes children more resilient and stable.
Other benefits of family time:
Family time makes your home a place your children will love to be and gives you power to influence your children for good.
It meets the emotional and social needs of the family.
Related: 14 Tips on becoming a better parent
Or leave it in another room while you spend time with your family. Studies show that if your phone is in the same room as you, part of your mind is engaged with it and therefore not fully focused on what you are doing.
Make it a rule that everyone’s technology is put away during family time (unless you’re taking pictures or recording video).
Leave behind the worries and cares of life and focus on your family. Choose to make the switch and wear your family “hat”.
Enter into the joy of being with your kids. Choose to be present the whole time.
Plan for family times together and don’t let anything (other than an emergency) interfere with this time.
Some families have a regular family time every day, others have a scheduled family night or day every week. Some plan monthly outings.
Find a time that will work for your family and then plan for it.
It’s good to spend time with friends and extended family, but you will not get the bonding effect with your immediate family during these times.
Make sure you have time for your family only so you can form a tight unit from your times together.
Play a card game
Play a board game
Picnic (indoors or outdoors)
Garden – plant flowers or herbs on a small scale
Explore a new playground
Cook – let the kids cook while you give directions
Family talent show – let each one perform and make it fun
Bake bread or cookies for a neighbour or shut in
Walk or hike
Play backyard cricket or soccer, throw a frisbee
Create a family painting – where everyone gets to paint
Camp – outdoors or in the living room
Play I Spy
Visit a national park
Visit a museum
Visit the beach
Have a sports day and have sack races, egg toss, or a water balloon toss
Have a campfire
Cook over a fire
Create an obstacle course
Have a treasure hunt
Build something together
Paint something together like your fence or an accent wall
Do science experiments
Teach your kids to shoot with an airgun
Play hide-and-seek outside
Talk – create a ritual out of this
Look for object lessons in nature
Plan a holiday, camping trip, or outing together
Learn a new hobby like woodwork, knitting, coding, etc
Try a new diet for 2 weeks and document your progress with video
Overcome a challenge together.
We know that soldiers, or anyone who goes through some kind of serious challenge together, are bonded by the experience.
The same works for families who conquer hardships together.
Some challenges we did as a family:
These are some of our best memories that gave us a sense of accomplishment and bonded us as a family. We had overcome a challenge together!
Find ways to purposefully do challenging things together as a family.
Throw around your children the charms of your home and companionship. Let them see that you love them and want them to be happy. If you do this, the restrictions you place on them for their protection will be better received.
Related: How to get your teen to talk to you
“No one will ever say, no matter how good a parent he or she was, “I think I spent too much time with my children when they were young.” Alice Ozma, The Reading Promise
Some of our happiest memories as a family are from the times we spent together – reading, camping, playing cricket, talking.
It’s created a bond that still holds us together today and was time well-invested.
What do you do for family time?