The Importance & Benefits of Family Time

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.

Why have quality family time?

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.  

Benefits of quality family time

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:

  • Improved mental health
  • Improves academic performance in children
  • Lower risk of behavioural problems
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Teaches conflict resolution
  • Reduces stress
  • Bonds the family
  • Reveals areas that need growth
  • Boosts self-worth

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

How to get engaged in family time

Turn off your phone

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).

Make the mental switch (change hats)

Leave behind the worries and cares of life and focus on your family. Choose to make the switch and wear your family “hat”.

Stay engaged

Enter into the joy of being with your kids. Choose to be present the whole time.

Schedule it

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.

Keep it family only

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.

Family time ideas:

Play a card game

Play a board game

Picnic (indoors or outdoors)

Read aloud

Garden – plant flowers or herbs on a small scale

Explore a new playground

Cook – let the kids cook while you give directions

Ride bikes

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

Swim together

Visit the beach

Have a sports day and have sack races, egg toss, or a water balloon toss

Play marbles

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

Play blind-man’s-bluff

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

Exercise together

Bonus family time idea:

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:

  • Climbed a steep mountain full of boulders. We had to figure out a way up and down. It was steep and scary, but we conquered!
  • Crossing a river on old tractor tubes with a dog and cooler box included.
  • Navigating a very difficult 4×4 section of road – the kids were out giving directions.
  • Living out of our vehicle on a 4 week camping trip. We camped in a different place almost every night, and had to find suitable places to camp (in a country that allowed us to camp anywhere), changing flat tires etc.

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?

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has three grown kids and is married to her best friend, Richard. She started this website as a platform to help families, and specifically women, to take control of their lives and grow themselves spiritually, mentally & emotionally, and to discover their God-given purpose and live it out with confidence. She is a trained Life Coach and has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). She is a certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator. She lives in sunny South Africa.

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