When you’re working long hours, running errands, and trying to balance your schedule, you might start to wonder if you’re spending as much time as you should with your family. After all, at the end of the day, you’ll likely regret missing your child’s school play or that family camping trip more than you’ll wish you spent more time at work. However, when it comes to family time, it’s not always about how much time you spend with them as it is about the quality of that time. If you can mange to spend an hour with your kids every day and really engage with whatever you’re doing, that’ll likely be far more meaningful than spending two hours with them while you send out emails on your phone.
Spending time with the family might also positively impact your family budget. There are interactive ways you can have some fun family time that could also help save you money. For example, instead of taking the family to a restaurant, spend a night planning and cooking a meal together at home. Maybe you have a trip to the mall planned this weekend. Instead, find some interactive things to do with your kids, like a painting project. Whatever you end up doing, focusing more on family time doesn’t mean you have to be spending more money. The important thing is that you give them your time and attention, because that’s what really counts.
So, let’s take a look at four ways to help you spend more time with your family.
When you do have some free time available, it’s easy to let it fill up with all sorts of activities that don’t involve direct time with your family. You could be letting your calendar fill up with things like extra work projects, birthday parties, practices for sports teams, volunteering commitments, and any number of other things.
It might seem like some of the things are family-oriented – and to some extent they might be – but you also might be falling into the trap of overscheduling your family. When you can learn how to turn down things that prevent you from spending time with family, you leave more room for things that will. Once you can make this connection, turning down invitations to do other things may become a whole lot easier.
Is there a seemingly endless list of household chores that need to be taken care of? Maybe the washrooms need cleaning, the laundry needs to be done, and your home needs to be organized. That’s not to mention the things that need doing on daily basis, like making dinner for the family.
You might feel like the easiest thing to do is to throw your kids in front of the TV or send them to their rooms to play while you take care of the chores, but you could be missing out on a great opportunity to spend some quality family time with your kids. Instead of getting them out of the way, let them help! Sure, it may take a little longer than it would on your own, and you might have to exercise some patience. But you’ll be able to show them how to do these chores properly while you chat with them about what’s going on in their lives.
And don’t worry about them not being able to do any of the chores properly. Even if you have young kids, giving them simple tasks like folding or sweeping might give them a feeling of pride and accomplishment in knowing that they’ve done something that helps the whole family. You might also be helping them to develop a good work ethic at a young age.
Even if your chores involve some home repairs that you don’t want them to help directly with, you can still find ways to include them in the process. If you need to fix something under the sink, have them hold a flashlight while you do it. If you need to mow the lawn or use a ladder for something, explain to them what you’re doing and how. Chores can be a great opportunity to turn an otherwise boring task into some quality family time.
Putting together dinner every night might take a fair bit of time out of your evening and time away from your family, but if you can’t afford to order in frequently and you want to make sure your family is getting a healthy, home-cooked dinner, there may not be an easy way around this. There are, however, a couple things you can do that may help.
One thing you can do is to cook more food than you need each time. Instead of making a meal for just that night, make double the amount and freeze or save the rest for another night. This could go a long way in cutting down on the amount of time you spend cooking, and open up some more family time. It could also relieve some of your stress, knowing that you have some healthy meals waiting for you at home.
Another thing you can do to grab a little more family time around dinner is to include your kids in the cooking process. While it might take a little longer to cook a meal with your kids helping – and things might get a little messier – it can be a great way to spend some quality time with them.
You might even be able to teach them a few things. Involving them in the cooking process might help build their self-esteem, give them a sense of accomplishment, and help to work on their math skills as you measure things out. If you’re putting together healthy meals, you can also encourage them to build healthy eating habits.
If you want to get involved in your kids’ lives and create some more family time, you may want to take some time away from your hobbies to get involved with theirs. It’ll likely be more fun for them if you’re along for the ride, and it’ll be a great way of creating memories and spending more quality family time with them.
Find out what hobbies they’re into and ask them to show you more about it. For example, if they’re into dancing, ask them to show you some dance moves and have a little dance party with them. If they play an instrument, get them to show you some of the basics.
Alternatively, you could always pick an activity that’s new to you both and dive into it together. Maybe you could start exercising together and go on runs, or maybe you can get creative in the kitchen and learn to bake together. Whatever you end up doing, showing an active interest in their hobbies and giving them the opportunity to teach you about something they’re interested in can help to build their self-esteem, and will let them know you value what they’re interested in.
When you have kids, time can fly by quicker than you think. One minute they’re taking their first steps, and the next they’re brooding teenagers. It’s not always easy, but it’s important for you to do your best to make as much room for family time as possible. Your list of errands may be calling out to be completed, and you might be tempted to spend a couple of extra hours at work, but your kids won’t be kids forever. Those early years can go by quickly, so it’s up to you to get the most out of them while you still can.
Your kids will always want to spend time with you, and you’ll likely have a big impact on the skills they develop and who they become later on in life. So do your best to be involved and grab as much family time as you can!
Do you have any tips for making room for more family time in your life?