Many of us invest a lot of our time and energy in our education, professional careers, property acquisition. Yet we don’t invest the same amount when it comes to spending time together as a family.
We live in extremely busy times and social advancements and technology have created many opportunities for all of us. Althought, it also created a lot more pressure. The pressure to be more, to do more, to know more, to achieve more, to buy more, to have more.
Unfortunately all at a cost of giving up MORE FAMILY TIME.
It is difficult to make time for loved ones. Not because we do not care about them. Sometimes the mindset of “I’m working hard for my family” and your unavailability ends up having the opposite impact on your relationships. For me especially, as an entrepreneur who mostly works out of a home office. It has become increasingly difficult to switch off. I catch myself constantly thinking about the next task I could “quickly” complete. Being intentional and present about “family time” can help you carve out meaningful time for your family. No matter how busy you are.
Little things like avoiding phones at the dinner table matter the most.
Extending bedtime stories (sometimes Kian wants me to read 4 books), or prolonging bedtime cuddles. Those are good examples of spending quality and meaningful time together as a family.
Below are a few ways of how we spend time together as a family:
This is something we are very intentional about. In the past, I would have had work I needed to “quickly” complete in the office. I’ll say to David something like this: “you guys go ahead without me”. Fortunately for David, he would’ve gotten home from work. For him, all work-related issues are left in the office until the next day. But as an entrepreneur working from home, I always felt like I was scrambling for more time. That affected my presence at the dining table. However, as the kids are getting older and with Kian, in particular, becoming a bit more chatty. We made a decision to always eat together, no matter what. Eating together also tends to promote more sensible eating habits and table manners. This is the time when you can educate your children about it.
‘No phones at the dining table’ policy
We have a strict ‘no phones at the table’ policy. We’ve noticed that whenever we have a phone next to us, there’s always the tendency to check on something real quick. In this case, I’m allowed to film some Instagram stories of the kids at the table (especially when they’re doing something I find funny or cute). I NEVER post it right away, because that breaks the rules of ‘not using phones at the table’. This is a great time for David and I to catch up as a couple while the kids listen to our interactions, or to catch up with the kids and listen to how their day was.
Taking active part in routine activities
Participating in little everyday tasks as a family can be so fulfilling. Brushing teeth in the morning, getting ready for school or doing grocery shopping together. As parents we’ve learnt that involving the boys in laundry, cooking or any kitchen chores creates less tantrums, so it’s a win win for all of us.
Invite them to participate in your routine and try to be present in theirs. It is often the time when they learn new skills or ask new questions, so don’t miss the opportunity to be present in their growth.
Taking active part in fun activities
Depending on your work schedules as a couple (as one person may have a job that requires them to work on weekends), keep some of your off days for your family. We don’t want our kids to perceive us as entirely as ‘routine’ parents but also as ‘fun’ parents too. It’s important to engage in activities that give us a good laugh and create memories we can always talk about in the future. Additionally it nurtures communication skills in your children (more in my latest blog). Going on holiday together, visiting the zoo or going to a museum are some fun activities to enjoy together as a family. More casual activities include taking a walk, having a picnic, playing games, watching an indoor movie, painting or building LEGO blocks.
We do things for the ones we love but oftentimes simply being present, expresses even deeper affection.