While it’s all too easy to succumb to the allure of all things emerging in the twenty first century, we don’t want to wave goodbye to our quality family time. Finding quality moments where everyone is free to spend some time together is difficult at the best of times. Throw into the mix the allure of social media, your kids busy social schedules and the overtime that you’re doing at work, and spending time together can seem nigh on impossible. There may be weeks where the entire household is like ships in the night. You might not get to eat together, watch TV together or go out together.
To make a change, you need to be proactive. Firstly, call a family meeting. Yes, this is formal and can make your kids feel like something ominous is about to happen, but it’s necessary to get the quality family time wheels in motion. You might be surprised at just how upset your partner and children are at not being able to spend much time together. Try to formulate a plan, so treat your family meeting like any other business meeting. You need an agenda and you need to give people time to air their views. Someone needs to be keeping minutes and everyone needs to be on board with any final decisions that you make. Talk about what you can do together as a family and, most crucially, pencil in a few times over the upcoming few months where you can spend time together. Take a look at the sorts of things you can do as a family to make your special moments all the more worthwhile.
Embrace The Internet
While it may seem counterintuitive to embrace the Internet and technology, you have to remember that possibly half the people in your household were born in the new millennium. To them, the Internet isn’t new fangled or modern, it just is. This is what they have grown up with and they’ve never known a time without it. Talk to your little darlings and state that you will be more than willing to take a look at digital board games and fun, family friendly online activities. This is a good place to start if you want to view some digital apps that encourage quality family moments.
Make sure that your offspring know that social media remains banned. While you are willing to welcome a little bit of gadgetry into your lives, the fakeness of social media is isolating and doesn’t promote shared experiences. Too much pressure is put on young girls and boys to appear a certain way, to weigh a certain amount and to eat a certain diet. You need to encourage your children to move away from that of their own accord, to empower them with other more fulfilling experiences. This is where the quality family time comes in. Most kids adore the idea of spending more time with their mum and dad even though they might not say it. If you ever go to your kids’ sports day, you’ll know that they are eager for you to watch them race and will perform their very best to try and make you proud. Repay that effort in kind with your willingness to find shared activities that you can bond over.
Find Out About Your Kids
The chances are that you may not have had a family conversation in weeks. Do you know how your kids are getting on at school? Do you know their friendship group? Use this opportunity to brainstorm ideas for activities that you might want to partake in together. This could be physical like abseiling, archery or go karting. It might be outdoorsy, such as pony trekking, hiking or climbing a hill. Or it could be more chilled like spending the day in the park, having a barbecue or playing games.
It doesn’t matter what list is drawn up, the activities will not suit everyone. This is where your family needs to learn the art of compromise. Consider setting up a monthly family time day and rotate the family member who chooses the activity. This way, your son who cannot bear bird watching will have to endure the twitching adventure one weekend in return for being able to put his sister through a day of fishing on the river.
If your annual vacation is coming up fast, it might be a good plan to get the kids more involved with the planning. While you might usually head off to a generic beachside resort, your kids might prefer something a little more unique. How about trekking across a glacier in Iceland, seeing the Northern Lights In Norway or venturing along the Inca Trail in Peru. The possibilities are endless give or take a few budget constraints. Get the kids on board by giving them a budget and asking them to plan the whole thing if they are old enough. Give them some non-negotiables such as dates, accommodation types and meal basis and you could find yourself heading overseas on a trip organised totally be the kids. While daunting, this can be exciting and empower your little cherubs to engage with your family time mission.
Every week, you should allocate an evening where everyone has to be in the house. You don’t have to organise any flashy event or food or occasion. Just being together within the home (especially in the winter) can be an easy way to relax together. You can chat, find out what is going on in each other’s lives and enjoy having a giggle over the latest rom-com to come out on Freeview.
If you’re more of an outdoorsy family, whip out the barbecue and enjoy a different grill every week. Pulled pork one week cooked by your son, cajun the next cooked by you, and then a traditional British sausage barbie cooked by your youngest. This is fun, gets the kids involved in cooking and leaves you free to enjoy the evening rather than having to organise everything all the time.
Everyone gets busy sometimes, but we should never allow the stresses and pressures of modern life encroach on our family time. Follow this guide and reclaim your quality family time once again.