Mother Teresa said it best, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
Your family nurtures and sometimes creates the framework of values that you live out in the world. Even though this doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a replicated version of your parents, your family members are the single most influential people in your life.
Family time is an essential factor to help create strong bonds, love, connections, and meaningful relationships among family members. Not only does spending time together create security, but it also helps children cope with challenges, develop good values, and confidence.
Prior to COVID, the average American family spent 37 minutes of daily quality time together. In comparison, the average adult spends three hours on social media each day -- that statistic is extremely disheartening. The study was commissioned by Visit Anaheim and polled 2,000 parents of school-aged children. With parents working and kids at school or participating in extracurricular activities, the overall time spent together is shockingly low. Instead of prioritizing the fundamentals of our relationships, society tends to focus on filling up a schedule or to-do list.
Even though it can be hard and sometimes overwhelming, investing in quality family time is powerful and life-changing. Here are a few reasons why:
Establish strong lines of communication.
Spending quality time as a family will create stronger emotional bonds between parents and children, which will allow better communication between everyone. Having regular conversations with your children will help them establish trust and authenticity. When your child needs to talk, they will feel more comfortable discussing real issues with you and are more likely to accept advice because you’ve established a strong communication foundation.
Your relationship with your family shouldn’t be a reactive one. Be proactive and take the time to really be present and intentional. You should talk when things are great and not just when things are rough.
If your schedule is demanding, get creative and prioritize time for your family. Here are a few simple ways you can create quality time:
- Schedule a Weekly Family Movie & Pizza Night: Rent a movie and have a simple pizza dinner. Sometimes setting a reoccurring event on your calendar is the easiest way to make occasions become a reality. Your family will look forward to the tradition, and it can serve as a great way to spend time together. If your family isn’t into movies, you can swap movies for board games. After a busy week, this weekly time together can be a great way to reconnect.
- Cook Dinner Together: Pick a day of the week and commit to making dinner together as a family. If your family is hesitant to cook, you can swap out cooking for committing to have a family dinner together at least once a week. Ditch your phones, turn off the TV, and engage with each other.
- One-on-One Time: Create one-on-one time with your children each week. This can seem overwhelming if you have multiple children; however, they’ll thoroughly appreciate having your undivided attention. Do something they would like or just grab lunch or a smoothie at their favorite drive-thru restaurant. This will be a great way you and your child can deepen your relationship. If you don’t feel like going out, sit on the porch together, and commit to just being together weekly
Less behavior problems.
Statistically, kids with parents who spend quality family time together typically have fewer behavioral problems. In a lot of cases, children who aren’t receiving the love and nurturing at home will act out because they are not getting the attention they need in order to develop emotionally.
To teach your children important lessons of life.
One of the biggest roles of a parent is teaching their children the important lessons of life. The majority of the life lesson sessions will happen organically when you’re driving on a road trip, reading together, cooking together, cleaning together, or just watching TV. Interestingly enough, those quiet moments will have a bigger impact on your child than the major life events – while those are still crucial milestones, children are more likely to pick up on the day to day moments. Children will observe how you share chores, treat people, encourage others, and listen to everyone.
A few ways you can slip in a mindful lesson are:
- Find a connection between a TV show and a life lesson you learned. Share that with your child.
- Sign up to volunteer for a local organization as a family.
- Attend church and be intentional when living out your faith.
- Volunteer at your child’s school or team events.
To show affection.
Parents get busy, and sometimes they take their child’s emotional well-being for granted. Showing your child affection, appreciation, and encouragement is important. According to studies, teenagers who remember being praised, hugged, or kissed are likely to do better at school than those who don’t receive affection.
Make an effort to say one positive thing to your child every day. You can teach your child values by noticing what they are doing right. Here are some simple ways you can show affection:
- Tuck your child in every night – maybe even consider reading together each night.
- Tell them they did a good job completing their chores, cleaning their room, on a test, helping their sibling with a task, picking out an outfit, helping a friend, or studying for a challenging subject.
- Greet them every morning and give them a hug.
Accepting your differences.
No two people are the same, and it is important that your children understand that. Spending time together reinforces the notion that people with differences can appreciate, encourage, and value each other. Disagreements are inevitable; however, the way we figure out solutions together is important when teaching and demonstrating respect.
The more quality time spent together will reduce tendencies of hiding feelings and build confidence. By making family time a normal occasion, your child will learn how to be proud of themselves and thrive in their future relationships.
Spending quality time together as a family will help create a sense of belonging, where everyone can share ideas, values, and beliefs. You can create a strong family unit by making the most out of everyday moments and being intentional with your time. The quality time that you spend together as a family will translate to confidence, patience, positive attitudes, support, loyalty, and love.