One of the biggest regrets working parents say they have today is the lack of time they have to spend at home, with their families. Increasingly, working parents claim that there is no balance in their work/life balance.
As a parent, I can relate. When my first child was born six years ago, I could never have imagined that in first grade he would have after school activities four days a week. Four days a week! Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be too much for him. Really. He is with his friends and doing things that interest him. If it seemed to be too much, something would change. I promise.
While both my husband and I work, we have flexible schedules that allow us to take turns driving and participating in activities with our boys. So far, with a six-year-old and a four-year-old, we are able to enjoy a pretty decent amount of quality one-on-one and whole family time. With our busy life styles, finding family time can be hard. Most homes these days are two income homes. Kids are booked with activities from school to church to sports. The older the children are, the harder it seems to schedule family time with everyone in one place.
Family time is an important bonding time. It helps parents stay in touch with what is going on in their kid’s lives. It helps the children bond with each other and their parents. It is a significant element in families that is often pushed off to another time.
What qualifies as family time is up to your family. Not every family can enjoy a trip to Disney or fancy resort. While these are great getaways for the family, they are not the only way to enjoy time with your family. Look for opportunities for everyday family times.
Something as simple as a family dinner is great family time. Though it is often hard to schedule, do this as often as possible. If only a few times a week, it is a great time to gather your children around the table and talk about their day, what is on their minds or things that are happening in their lives or yours. Even if only one parent can be present, show the children that you care enough to share a meal with them. A bucket of chicken with the fixings, shared together at the picnic table in the backyard, is a great family time.
Find a hobby that parents and children all enjoy. It can be stamp collect or roller hockey, just something that you all enjoy doing. You can find a new activity or enjoy an older love that you haven’t found the time to enjoy lately. The point is to share that time with family. It can be a hobby that is done at home or one that gets you all out of the house together.
Start walking or working out together with your kids. Most parents have goals of getting fitter. This may include walking, running or working out at the gym. Make this a family activity. Walking and hiking are great activities for the family to enjoy together. It is a great time to talk to your children while you are hiking along. It has the side benefit of sharing and teaching the kids about living healthy as well.
Institute a family fun night. A night at home watching movies, solving puzzles or playing board games is a great time for all family members. Let the kids take turns picking out the games or movies each week. Kids really enjoy these activities and doing them with Mom and Dad is even more fun.