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Spending Time Together

By Julie Almquist, M.S., LIMHP

Spending Time Together image

Parents do all that they can to give their children good lives. They work to provide safe homes, warm clothes, healthy meals and the opportunities to join clubs and play sports. Unfortunately, giving your children all of these things can require some sacrifices.

If parents work full time, it can be difficult to spend quality time with their families. However, spending time with your children is one of the most important aspects of parenting. It provides the opportunity to build self-esteem and teach about caring for others.

The Importance of Spending Time Together

Spending quality time with your child has a number of benefits.

  • You can teach values through your actions. For example, show your child about common courtesy by using words such as “please” and “thank you.”
  • Family time helps communicate to children that they are loved unconditionally.
  • Spending time together helps everyone stay connected as a family. You can line up weekly schedules, demonstrate proper behavior for group decision making and learn about what is going on in everyone’s lives.

Ways You Can Spend Time Together

Any time spent together is good, but the most effective time together is meaningful time. This means time without distractions, like TV, and taking part in an activity that more than one person will enjoy; it includes sincere conversations and genuine praise.

Here are some tips to establishing a fun, frequent and meaningful family time routine:

  • Set aside one day a week when the whole family decides on something special to do together.
  • Plan special gatherings with grandparents and other relatives.
  • Have regular family meetings where everyone has a chance to participate.
  • Sit down as a family as often as possible to eat a meal and discuss your day. For added fun, invite your children to plan, shop and cook with you or make a dessert together.
  • Support your children by doing things such as coaching little league or helping in the classroom.
  • Be open to your children's feelings by talking about both the happy and sad events in your lives.
  • Establish new traditions with your kids. They don’t have to be elaborate, and they can fit into your already established weekly routine, such as mealtimes, bedtime or weekend errands.