You work hard all day. By the time you pick up the kids, make your way home, feed everyone, get homework/chores done, and finally get a moment to breathe you just want to shut down and relax. I get it…but no matter how pooped you are, you need to stay engaged a little longer and make time for your family. When children are younger, taking time for family is easier because they demand it. But as children get older family time becomes more challenging. Nevertheless, it is always important.
Spending time as a family can consist of almost any activity! In fact, it is better if you switch up the activities instead of doing the same thing week after week. Family activities do not have to be expensive or lavish. You can plan a game night, go for a walk, or watch a movie. Parenting magazine has a bunch of tips to help you get started. The important thing is that you are all together and that you are enjoying each other’s company. Time spent as a family leads to happy memories and stronger bonds within the family unit. Not only is it a benefit to the family as a whole, it benefits the individual family members as well. Here’s how:
Benefits of Family Time for Your kids and Family
Builds Self Confidence
The more time your children spend participating in activities with you the more opportunities you will have to show your children that they are important and valued. When children feel valued they have more positive feelings about themselves, helping them to build a positive sense of self. They will be better equipped to identify their strengths and stand strong in support of the their values.
When children (as well as adults) are encouraged to try new activities and step out of their comfort zones they often develop a more open minded disposition. They tend to appreciate other people’s points of view and are willing to consider new or unconventional ideas. Family time encourages creativity by allowing time for arts and crafts or other artistic expressions to be enjoyed as a family. Not all family time has to be artsy, but it is important to include it every once in awhile. Besides, you know you’re just looking for an excuse to bring out the old tie dyeing equipment.
Increases Family Connection
The more time you spend enjoying activities together as a family, the closer your family will be. Research has shown that enjoying activities together as a family will create a stronger emotional bond between family members. Family members that share emotional closeness will be better able to navigate difficult situations as a family and as individuals. Feeling connected brings a sense of security and safety to all members of the family, especially the children.
Encourages Positive Behaviors
Spending quality time together as a family can teach and encourage your child to do the next right thing. This can mean less substance use and less engagement in harmful situations as they enter the dreaded teen years. When a family develops mutual love and respect by spending time together, there is a stronger desire to make the family proud. There is a standard modeled by you, the parent, that says we take care of and nurture the people in our lives – our family. This tendency to nurture others coupled with increased self-esteem correlates with more positive behaviors.
I know at first it can seem overwhelming to add one more thing to your plate. Start small if you need to…just start. The rewards are way worth the cost!
About the Author
Amber Groves is a Marriage and Family Therapist and infertility specialist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She helps couples, families and children to have the calm and peaceful life they want in their relationship and family. In her spare time, she is the mother of one busy toddler and a sweet little baby.