Why should family time be on your priority list?
You love your family and you spend so much time and effort in giving them the best of every material thing that you can afford. You count every minute as precious and make investments to secure the financial future of your family. But you still find that sometimes the family may not be as close or happy and that makes you think, what have I have missed?
Perhaps, you missed the most important thing that your family needs, your time. Spending time with your loved ones is the best investment you can ever make. We’ve heard it a hundred times before – quality trumps quantity every time.
It creates memories to cherish forever
How clearly do you remember the first bicycle that dad bought you or perhaps it was a video game? But the most fun was the time spent with him learning to ride the bike or shooting down demons in some fantasy universe. Be it the memories of helping your mother bake goodies for Christmas or your grandma telling you bedtime stories, every memory of the time you spent with your loved ones is something you cherish. Spending time with family creates memories for both parents as well as children, and these are the very memories that influence and inform choices as children grow into adults.
Makes your children feel loved
It’s a tough world to grow up in. Hence, sometimes we get so anxious in raising successful children that we often forget the real meaning of spending quality time with them. Spending time with children doesn’t include rushing them to school, followed by coaching classes, extracurricular activities and homework supervision. It means being fully engaged with your child in any activity that makes him feel loved and wanted. When children feel loved and valued by parents, they feel positive about themselves and grow up to be confident individuals.
Helps in the all-round development of children
Research indicates that early parent-child interactions contribute positively to the brain development of the child. Ninety percent development of a child’s brain takes place during the first three years. Hence, when parents engage in small activities with their toddlers like peek-a-boo, playing catch, puzzles and filling a bucket with toys, they are helping their child to learn and develop.
Develops a sense of security in the child
What a child at any age seeks the most is a sense of security. Family time assures your child of that security. You don’t need to wait to find time for luxurious activities to make it meaningful for your children. Take a short walk to the shops, help your child build a lego spaceship, or give tips to your son while playing a backyard game of football with him. Children tend to share more about their day while they are enjoying an activity with mum and dad.
A natural way of spending time with your family is to have dinner together. The US National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) conducted a study and found that teenagers who do not have frequent family dinners are “twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol, and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.” Teenagers usually like to spend more time with their friends. So, family mealtime can be a natural way to connect with them without making them feel interrogated. You can use this time to talk, share your own childhood stories, connect with them, observe any changes in their behaviour and spot the cause of any potential issues. Do not worry if you have a packed schedule and cannot be present regularly for family dinners. Aim for 2 to 3 family dinners a week. Also, try to engage the entire family from adults to children in menu preparation, grocery shopping and cooking on a weekend.
Go for outings
If you are an adventurous parent, then taking your family on excursions or short holidays is not only a good way to refresh yourself but also a good time to strengthen your family bond. Studies reveal that families that enjoy activities together have strong emotional ties and greater ability to overcome adverse situations as a family. Spending time with the family and understanding each other also helps in the development of the child’s emotional intelligence. Your child is likely to develop a positive behaviour and learn social skills by regularly interacting with parents and siblings.
Invite parents home
Not only your children but even your parents and spouse need your time. If your parents stay with you, having meals together can be a fun time for sharing family anecdotes and other valuable lessons that inculcate a sense of belonging with the family. Family members of all ages tend to eat better if they have meals together. It is also a good time to try new food. Children are more likely to enjoy the food that parents like to eat.
If your parents stay away, invite them home on weekends or visit them. Loneliness is also a reason for their ill health or sickness. Spending quality time with parents is very important for their mental and emotional well-being as well. Take your children with you to visit your parents. Grandparents love to share stories and play with their grandchildren. The lessons passed on by grandparents are the ones children remember forever. They also learn to live a balanced life and value their parents when they see you doing the same to your parents.
Last but not least, make time for your spouse and keep working on the marriage. Appreciate each other and take the time to discuss your day. A good understanding between a husband and wife is the foundation of a strong family. Always remember, happy parents raise children who grow up to be happy adults.