Life gets busy. Often we struggle to schedule time with our spouse and time with our kids. Before we know it, spending time together as a family has become a rarity, especially if we have multiple kids, all with their own friends and interests.
Family time is vital, though. A happy family life can help individuals overcome all kinds of adversity, and the quality of your family relationships impacts your overall happiness. It's not that hard to find just a little time, on a regular basis, to do these eight things.
Getting the whole family together to simply talk to each other doesn't sound like a huge challenge, but it can be. Devices are on. The TV is on. Some teenagers text a parent in the kitchen from their bedroom, rather than going down for a real life chat. People don't talk as much as they used to.
Find time to sit down and talk as a family. You can call it a family meeting, or you can call it pizza night. It doesn't matter, as long as you're all there.
Maybe we don't talk as much as we used to because we don't eat together as much as we used to, but there's evidence that family dinner is linked to several positive outcomes for your children.
Work around everyone's schedule as often as you can, so the whole family sits down to eat together.
The more time you carve out together as a family, the more funny memories and in-jokes you create. Even the things that don't seem at all funny at the time may seem hilarious in a few months or years.
Create the opportunity to have fun together as a family: All of you. It's tough if you have a lot of kids with a wide age range, but your toddler can make your teen laugh, and vice versa. Family time should be fun time.
I'm a homeschooling mom, so of course I'm a fan of learning together. But a learning experience doesn't have to be formal. Have fun going to a child-friendly museum or a science center. Learn to grow vegetables, or build a tree house together. Schedule a regular family bible study or read-aloud session, or watch a documentary that appeals to the whole family.
Is there a game or sport the whole family loves to play together? Whether it's a board game, a physical activity or a simple water balloon fight on a summer evening, play is bonding and beneficial for your family relationships, at any age.
This doesn't have to be complicated. It can be a family hike or bike ride. Or a trip to the lake to go swimming. If it's a type of exercise that involves a challenge or some kind of teamwork, even better. It feels so good to reach a common goal as a family.
If you can, take a family vacation at least once a year. Don't be put off by finances. You'll make as many memories on a road trip to visit Grandma or a camping trip to a state park, as you will in a fancy hotel.
If your kids are spread out age wise, you may only get a few of these in as a whole family before the older ones fly the nest, so make the effort while they're still around.
Try and turn up and support each other in all your endeavors. If someone is graduating, acting in a play, singing a solo, playing in a baseball game or doing anything else that matters to them, make it a family occasion, whenever you can.
Family is for life, but kids grow up, leave for college, move away and have families of their own. There may be a relatively short time that your whole family is able to spend time together on a regular basis. Make the most of it.