In today's fast-paced world, it can be a challenge to find quality family time. Parents are working, children are in school, playing sports and pursuing extracurricular activities. Perhaps most challenging, according to a 2015 study, is that teens in the US spend an average of 9 hours a day consuming digital media--from watching television to scrolling through Instagram. This leaves precious little time for families to actually spend meaningful time together, time that allows children to gain self-worth, build emotional ties and learn the value of positive family relationships. So how do you make quality family time happen? Here are five simple ideas to help you not only make time for each other, but to make the best of that time and form meaningful connections.
1. Eat dinner together as often as possible.
These evening meals are a perfect way to spend quality time together and connect. Even better, try to cook together once a week. You will be able to enjoy fun, valuable time with one another and kids will learn useful lifelong skills.
2. Dedicate one night a week to "family night." The activity can change week to week whether it's playing games, going for a hike, telling stories, working in the yard or doing a craft. Make this a regular priority and don't allow other things to encroach on this time. When you mindfully schedule time together, you can look forward to it and enjoy it with a deeper sense of fulfillment and appreciation for the moment.
3. Set a morning or evening routine. If possible, spending 10-20 dedicated minutes together every day before work and school or at bedtime can make a huge difference in child's day. Perhaps your routine can involve a bit of stretching/yoga together or reading a book. It might surprise you at how valuable your children will view these short interactions as they look back on their childhood.
4. Exercise together.
Children are naturally full of energy, so this is a great way to spend time together (and healthy for parents too!). Running around the yard playing a game of tag, riding bikes or playing ball together are all simple ways to be active together.
5. Travel together. Travel is a great way for the family to get away from everyday chores and routines and spend more time doing fun activities, being goofy and just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. Road trips, visiting national parks, or organized family adventures with companies like Backroads are wonderful ways to get outside, get active and spend time with your loved ones. Traveling together allows for camping, biking, hiking, sightseeing, playing games and spending true quality time with each other that is free of distraction. It's a great way to connect with your kids on a deeper, more meaningful level.