What are the best ways to schedule quality family time? Life happens. We find that we spend our days picking our children up from daycare or school, taking them to dance classes or sports practices, picking them up from said classes and practices, only to go home, eat quickly, do homework or chores, brush their teeth, go to sleep, rinse and repeat the next day.
The days and weeks pass so quickly that we can’t remember the last time the family had the chance to sit down for even five minutes together without somewhere to go or something to do. When this happens, everyone needs a time out! Press pause on life for a moment; you will be so grateful that you did.
Before you know it, your 7-year-old will be 17 and want to hang out at the mall with his/her friends than sit at home to watch a movie with his/her family. Even though you’ll find your family wrapped up in your children’s practices, lessons, play dates, birthday parties, concerts, plays, games, etc., you still have to remember that these events don’t allow you to just enjoy the company of one another or even have the chance to talk to each other.
Now, all of these aforementioned activities are wonderful and should be encouraged, but they shouldn’t be confused for that quality time you get when you spend reading a book together, watching their favorite movie with a pizza together or even just sitting down at the dinner table and talking about your day.
Pick a day or a night, preferably on the weekend and plan something to do as a family. Include everyone’s input, so you have a better chance of getting everyone’s willing and eager participation.
It doesn’t have to be an activity that’s going to exceed your budget and it doesn’t have to be something extravagant; it just has to encourage your family to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.
For example, everyone gets to pick a movie they would want to see as a family; the movie could be something no one has seen or a family favorite.
Order a pizza and eat dinner around the table together. Have everyone share how their day was (with younger children, ask simple questions about daycare or preschool) and continue the conversation to find out more about what you’ve been missing out on as a result of your hectic schedules.
Then, pop some popcorn or have an ice-cream sundae contest (who can make the best sundae) and gather on the couch to watch the movie together. It may seem silly now, but these types of nights are going to be something you’ll cherish forever and even yearn for when they’re older.
If you wish to make family night an ongoing event, you should! Plan something once a month and let it be someone or everyone’s decision about what to do. Depending on where you live, maybe you can visit an amusement park, a zoo or engage in seasonal activities, such as sleigh riding, apple picking, pumpkin carving, visiting water parks, etc. You can also check your community calendar for local events, many of which are free of charge and fun for the whole family.
No matter how the quality time together is spent, just remember to spend quality time together. You don’t get back the years your children are young enough to really want to be around you on a Friday night instead of out with their friends or even on a date (yikes!).
Even when life gets incredibly busy, don’t forget your family time out; it will give you time away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life and may even be some of your most enjoyable memories.
Author Bio: Anna Kaminsky is a blogger, a mother of two boys, and an aspiring child psychologist. She is doing PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto and working as an intern at the Richmond Hill Psychology Center, where she maintains “Psychological Resources for Parents” blog and helps with psycho-educational assessments and play therapy. You can follow Anna on Twitter at @AnnaKaminsky1 and get more ideas on the best ways to schedule quality family time.