Make the Mundane Magnificent
Today’s families are overbooked and overwhelmed. Work ends, school dismisses, and then it’s time for dinner prep, sports and other extracurriculars, studying, maybe a few loads of laundry…and then off to bed. There remains not enough time in the day to do it all, but many of us try our best to be superparents.
In the chaos of the days, nights and endless routines, family time feels like the ‘extra’ that we often sacrifice to accomplish all the other tasks and responsibilities. But time together—moments as a family—is what we need most of all to soothe those stressful pressures and heavy-weighted responsibilities.
Family time doesn’t mean that everyone has to carve out hours of the day. We’re all busy, but in that craziness, we can make time for each other. There is time within the chaos…and, often, family time just requires the ability to multi-task. To spend more time together, families can turn these everyday tasks, habits and activities into convenient times to gather and catch up.
Make time to have dinner together…even that doesn’t always mean a massive home-cooked meal. According to The Family Dinner Project, “Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem.”
Talk about your day and make an effort to discuss any upcoming import events for the family. For older kids, talk about world events or interesting social media trending topics. Ban all devices from family dinner time…even if you’re grabbing dinner to go! Designate dinner as family only!
Families often have designated days for certain chores. If part of the weekend includes changing linens and washing laundry, make a family event of it. Help kids make their beds. Parents also can use the time to teach kids the basics of folding and laundry (they’ll need to learn!). If it’s time for a spring cleaning, give kids jobs that are age-appropriate and use cleaning time to bond and chat. Chores and housework are much more enjoyable when we make it fun…and when we do it together!
If kids don’t take the bus, use the commute to and from school to play catch up. Turn off the radio and use the time to talk about events and the day. Trips to games or recitals also may turn into the ideal time to have family time. Use times when the family is together to start dialogue and have fun as a family…even if you’re all trapped in the car! However, make sure kids know that devices need to go off…family time should ensure everyone is engaged!
Some weeks, it seems impossible to get everyone in the same place…even for a meal. When the family is going in a million different directions, parents need to step back a bit and consider scheduling in a time to come together. Movie night at the house is a simple and fun event to plan; vote on the movie to rent, buy some popcorn and snacks (or order in pizza!) and chill out together. Family time doesn’t always have to be spent talking and sharing.
We’re all trying our best to meet all the demands and deadlines. Too often, though, families sacrifice time together in the chaos of the stress and pressures of daily life. Use everyday situations as an excuse to bring the family together. There is time in each day to share as a family, we just have to multi-task…and, sometimes, redefine the meaning and expectations of ‘family time.’