One of the biggest pitfalls of growing up is taking on responsibility. You go from being responsible for making your bed in the morning to being responsible for paying the bills, paying the mortgage, getting the car detailed, and raising children. The level of responsibility means more freedom from rules that your parents may have set out for you, but it also means that you are more tied down to getting chores done. When you add a full day of work to your rota of chores that need to get done, your time is pretty rinsed. By the time you’ve got everything done and spent a day at work, the only thing you want to do when you finally arrive home is sink into a hot bath, eat a delicious meal and fall asleep on the sofa. Adults are inherently busy, which means we never slow down, never stop and we spend a lot of our time talking about how tired we are. The big issue here is that while we are spending our time living up to our responsibilities, we aren’t spending much time with the family. The balance is completely off and what ends up happening is that you get stuck in a routine of never spending time with the children. Unfortunately, almost all of us are guilty of shoving aside family time in favor of our responsibilities at home or at work. The thing is, if we don’t go to work, the bills don’t get paid, which leads to a total collapse of life as you know it as you struggle to make ends meet, and you then end up stressed and possibly depressed. It’s just not the way you want things to go.
Family time is very important to adults, but it’s more important for children. Children learn from us and they watch what we do. If they see us working all the time and never spending time at home to be with them, then they will soon become detached and uninterested in their parents. By the time you’re done paying all the bills and working for years, you’d have missed the time you could have spent with the children. You’ll miss the years of magic, where everything has a scenario and the sofa saves them from lava. You’ll miss out on the fun and just being together because the housework needed to get done or overtime at work had to get done. it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that children who are feeling neglected when they are young grow up to be adults with abandonment issues and are needier teenagers. Humans crave attention and interaction, and when that interaction is minimized, we suffer for it. We become anxious and yearn for a safe environment where we feel loved. Finding the time to spend with your family doesn’t have to be hard, but it does mean that you have to occasionally say no to other things. Saying no to overtime at work may mean it takes longer to pay a debt or save up for a family vacation, but saying no to overtime means saying yes to the children at home. They will appreciate your time right now, even if it does mean waiting a little bit longer for that holiday in the sun. We’ve got some great ideas for spending more time together as a family.
Allocating one night a week to spend together as a family that is convenient for all is a great way to book in with each other. It may feel like you’ve had to schedule time just to be together, but sometimes that’s what it takes to make room in life as busy as it can be! Family night can include anything that you like, but popular ideas are taking it in turns to choose a movie and snacks, and everyone has to go with what the chooser says. Another is – if you have older children – binge-watching box sets together and discussing them. Of course, both of these options are based on being at home, so you may need a stronger internet connection to be able to stream! Check out www.optimum.com to see how you can maximize your TV package for those family nights. Another idea is to hit the shops in the sales and buy up as many board games as you can. Coming away from screens and sitting around a table together properly can encourage conversation with each other. With the rise of the use of technology, a conversation is hard to come by, and spending time with the children means finding out their likes, dislikes, and what’s going on at school. Regardless of the age of the children living in the house, keep family night consistently the same night every week and you can make sure you have time together booked in.
Of course, this isn’t going to be an option that happens all the time. You can take time to have weekends away together and you can have a longer vacation each year. If you want to create the best memories for your children, then taking them to new places and guaranteeing them new experiences is the way forward. You don’t have to send out all your money on elaborate cruises and all-inclusive jet-setting around the globe, either. There are plenty of vacation ideas within the country you live and depending on where you go, you can even find different climates. There’s no need to go for a luxurious option just to create memories. Camping out in the woods under the stars, renting a cabin by a lake, and even touring various amusement parks can all make for a fantastic vacation together. These times you spend away can give you memories that you talk about for a long time!
For most, finding the time to get in a workout is impossible. Between working hours, housework, chores outside the home, and paying the bills, fitting in a half-hour workout at the gym can be very difficult. If you tie in your workouts with the whole family, you can kill two birds with one stone. The best part? Workouts are usually boring when you’re out pounding the pavement. When you work out with the family it becomes far more fun. Working out means going to rock climbing walls, cycling through fields with a picnic, and boating on the lake. Physical activity in the sunshine is just brilliant for the whole family. Not only is everyone getting in the time to be active outside, but it’s also pure fun and laughter to be had and you really cement those relationships with each other. You can get really creative with working out with family, and you can look here for more ideas.
It may seem like a weird idea for a family, but when you have young children, reading together is so important. Not only can they get to know how to read themselves, but they can also sit and ask questions and relax with you while you read to them. For older teenagers, you could introduce a book club idea. Set the whole family a book to read and after a couple of weeks, come together to discuss it. If there is a movie made based on the book, you can all go and see it and discuss it over a meal. It’s a great way to get to know your children’s preferences.
One of the biggest ways you can interact as a family is to get messy. We’re not suggesting you go paintballing (it’s not appropriate for under-10s!) but we are suggesting cooking together, crafting, and generally having some fun with paint. Imagination is something that adults sometimes need a little help to rediscover. Baking some cookies together in preparation for movie night is a wonderful way to spend time just enjoying each other’s company. Step out of your controlled zone and let the kids get a little bit mucky with the flour. If one of your household chores is to paint the garden fence, get the kids involved. Take some balloons and use a funnel to fill them with paint. Pin these to the fence outside and get throwing some darts! For younger children, just throw the paint at the fence and have a huge mess of color instead of a uniform look. It can be so much fun to step outside your comfort zone and allow a little destruction to happen.
There are tons of options for spending time with the family, you just have to want to find them. When you take the time to involve the kids in your chores, you can teach them responsibility and manners, and you can also get to know them and learn their likes and dislikes. There isn’t a need to fret over whether you spend enough time with the children when you build your life around theirs and vice versa. Making time for family is how to find your happiness, so don’t waste time waiting.