We are often given the notion that a successful career and material wealth are the crucial ingredients of a happy, accomplished life. However, a poll by Daily Mail UK stated that an overwhelming 95% of parents feel that the key to happiness lies in spending quality family time together. The research, surveyed among couples pre- and post- parenthood, has found that parents are shunning expensive cars, jewellery and posh clothes in favour of what they believe is the ultimate luxury – spending time with their family.
True enough, we live in a hectic world these days. Life is busy, and everyone in the household seems to be on a different schedule. Distractions – smart phones, computer, electronic gadgets – are everywhere.
Did you know…
- Parents spend an average of just 3.5 minutes each week having meaningful conversations with their children?
- The average child watches around 28 hours! of television in that same week?
In our focus towards providing for the family and bringing food to the table, family time doesn’t have to be sacrificed if we take the initiative and be consistent. Remember, quality is more important than quantity. After all, kids are only young once – you won’t want to miss this window of opportunity while they are still open to affection.
In conjunction with International Daughter & Son Day today, we would like to suggest several fun ways you can spend quality time with the family:
1. Eat together
Make it a point to have one meal together everyday. Turn off the TV, no phones on the table and talk about each other’s day.
2. Work together
Get your kid’s help in household chores. Yes, you may be able to fold clothes and set the table faster than a 5-year-old can, but when you include the kids, you turn chores into bonding time while teaching valuable skills. You may wanto create a family clean-up game, where grown-ups and kids compete to see who can get the most done the fastest, or make up a family song to sing while you work together.
3. Play together
Plan to have a family game night every week. It can last from one to two hours on a weekend night. Take out your Snap or Snack & Ladder games. Or have the kids put on a play. We also like to throw a movie night, complete with a good family movie, blanket, drinks and popcorn.
4. Make traditions together
You don’t need to wait for holidays or vacations to connect. Breakfast on Sundays, Friday game night, weekend shopping, or gardening can bring the family together. Whatever tradition you choose, make sure everyone, including parents, honors a set time. Everyone should show up and unplug. No texting, no Facebook, and no TV. Just enjoy each other.
5. Learn together
If your kid dreads homework, take the opportunity to study together. Homework seems more tolerable when you are there alongside to guide and learn with them. Ultimately, your child gets his homework done, and you get some time to connect with him.
6. Go on a holiday together
Whether it’s a short getaway or a one-week overseas trip, make it a point to go on a vacation together at least once a year. If your finances are limited, go on a day trip to the zoo, museum, nature reserve, or even a picnic at a park. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Kids are simple; spending time with you is what matters most to them.
7. Celebrate together
Celebrate life’s little achievements. It can be anything from a great report card, a win in a school swimming competition or even a promotion at work. Inspire each other. Of course, birthdays are definitely not to be missed.
8. Exercise together
What better way to convey the importance of exercise to your child than to be a role model yourself! It’s a no brainer that exercise is good for health – physically and mentally! It’s a good way for you to steal some time for fresh air and to keep fit. The activities can range from jogging in the park, swimming, badminton outside the house or just scooting around for fun.
9. Read together
Kids love immersing themselves in the world of imagination. Reading before bedtime is a great bonding time. Let them choose a story and read them together every night. It’s your down time too.
10. Put your priorities together
The mythical, supermum doesn’t exist. When you stop trying to be perfect, you create more time. Sort out your priorities and pursue those. Give and take. Do what makes you happy or less stressed. If you feel calmer with no papers on the dining room table, involve the kids in helping you clear it off. If you can live with a few stray papers, and would prefer to cook with the kids and try a new recipe, do that instead. Instead of changing who you are to match the task, change the task to match your lifestyle. Spend time on what’s important to you.
What did your family do for quality time when you were growing up?