Making Time for Family
Setting aside time to spend with family can be tricky when everyone has a busy schedule. As a daddy to six kids (and one more on the way) I’ve learned that sometimes you have to be creative when coordinating time to be altogether as a family.
I’ve put together several tips and tricks that have helped my family and I spend time together throughout the years.
Ring the Dinner Bell: Many families don’t take advantage of the time spent around the dinner table. It’s a consistent hour each and every day allowing parents and children to gather and enjoy one another. Encourage everyone to do their part, including preparing the meal, setting the table, and cleaning up. It helps to make a household rule of no cell phones at the dinner table, and we often let our house phone go to voicemail, too, while we are eating. Take time to enjoy your children, ask them about their day, their week, and their activities – use dinner time to really engage and become more connected to your children’s lives.
Game Night: Your kids aren’t going to want to spend time with you every night – especially if they’re teenagers. Pick one night, a weekday or weekend, and make that your family game night. Don’t be in charge of picking the game every time; share the privilege. Your kids will enjoy the opportunity to teach you a new game they love playing or turning on the Wii for a game of bowling or tennis. Having game night allows you and your children to learn new things while laughing and playing games together.
Family Outings: Once a month on a weekend day plan a special family outing to the park, the zoo, an amusement park, etc. It doesn’t have to be the same day every month – I know your schedule is busy – but dedicating at least one day every month to a special family outing is a great way to reconnect altogether and get out of the house, too. Include your kids by having them brainstorm local places they’re interested in visiting. Make sure your outings are kid friendly, so everyone looks forward to these monthly adventures.
Get Technological: Computers and technology play a large part in our lives. And we can often use those technologies to connect and check-in with everyone throughout the week. Utilize Skype as a family, if you have an older child in college and younger ones still at home to help keep everyone on the same page. Skype is an excellent way to keep everyone connected – including grandparents! If you’re a serious techy family why not try having a Twitter party using the hashtag and your family name, or a group texting session to check in with everyone throughout the week. Be creative and reach out to your children as often as you can.
Spending time together as a family can be a struggle at times, but it’s important to find new ways to bring the whole family together to share new experiences, instill a greater sense of community and share in laughter.
These tips have worked for me in the past, and I hope they’ll work for you, too.
Daddy Nickell, father of 6, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.