Spending time with family is important. However, life can get busy now and again making it hard to devote quality time with loved ones.
If you need suggestions on how to spend more time with family this year, here are some options to consider:
1. Schedule days off together
Some working parents and spouses may find it difficult to spend enough time with their family. If you find yourself with this dilemma, try scheduling the same days off.
For example, if your child has a planned day off at school, request the same day off from work. If your spouse is scheduled to be off work on a certain day, try to take the same day off and plan something special.
If you need some suggestions for your free time together, some fun ideas may include:
- Take it easy - Could you use some down time? Sleep late and hang around in pajamas all day. Other plans could include a movie marathon, ordering pizza from your favorite spot and playing board games.
- Go to an event - Surprise your son or daughter with tickets to see their favorite sports team. If your child doesn’t like sports, head to a concert or the museum.
- Visit another family member - Most relatives would love a surprise visit from their family. Try to keep your visit a secret that everyone involved can share.
2. Cook and eat together
Research shows that sharing a family meal can be good for the spirit, the brain and the health of every family member1. From engaging conversations to simply being in the presence of your loved ones, meals are a great opportunity for family bonding.
Preparing and cooking meals together can add to the experience as well. Here are some tips to make the experience fun for everyone:
- Assign new tasks for each meal - For example, parents can alternate cooking duties while kids can take turns food prepping, setting the table and cleaning up.
- Try new recipes - Start compiling a list of new recipes to try for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let each family member choose one meal for the group each week.
- Cook old family recipes - You may have family recipes that go back several generations. Keep these traditions alive by perfecting the recipes together.
3. Put down your devices
In this day and age, most of us are probably guilty of spending too much time on our tech devices. Unfortunately, this habit can hinder attention and communication between family members at home. Whether it’s email, texting or social media, time spent on your device could be time spent sharing moments with your family.
Here are a couple of ways to get you and your family to put your devices down:
- Schedule “device free time” - Establish a rule where no devices are allowed for a set period of time. This could be for two hours after school or one hour after dinner.
- Establish a “no phone zone” - This may vary by family but the dinner table could be a good place to start. Ask all family members to leave their phones behind before taking their seats.
4. Plan one family outing per month
Planning a family outing each month can help everyone get in the habit of devoting time to spend with family on a regular basis. The outings don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. The main goal of this excursion is to share an experience together.
From exploring a state park to helping out at a local soup kitchen, here are some ideas for a memorable family outing:
- Get outdoors - The great outdoors can offer many fun and low cost activities such as hiking, fishing and camping. You may also be able to find deals on nearby theme parks and water parks.
- Be entertained - From the latest blockbuster movie to attending a street festival, you most likely know what will entertain your family. Ask everyone to pitch in their suggestions and vote for the best idea.
- Volunteer - Is there a home for the elderly nearby? See if they could use some helping hands. Does your community need volunteers? Sign up to clean a park or fold clothes at a donation center. Whatever activity you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others in addition to your own.
Enjoy each other
The hustle and bustle of modern day life can sometimes get in the way of what matters most. If you’re looking to increase your family time in 2017, we hope this list provides helpful ideas for the New Year.