It’s such a challenge to spend time with family these days especially that our kids are in different stages— And whenever we do manage to get together, we are all usually swamped with our own things we need to work on… our own to-do lists and deadlines for work and school.
But we do need to make an effort to spend quality time together. Otherwise, we will drift apart from one another and develop a new normal — to come home and do our own thing and leave whenever we need to and not spend time with each other.
Here are three simple steps to help you develop the habit of spending quality time as a family:
- Plan. Spending time with each other will not happen naturally. You need to be deliberate and carve out time for this. Prioritize the most important people in your life. Plan your day, your week, your month, your year. Decide what time you will be home and spend time with your children. Decide what day of the week you will reserve to bring your kids out. Block off holidays for family trips. Include your kids in the planning and ask them what they want to do as a family, where they want to go.
- Remove distractions. Whenever you are together as a family, are you actually spending time with each other or is everyone hooked on to their gadgets? Our phones , Ipads and laptops are actually a major hindrance to spending quality time together. During our mealtimes, we have a “No Gadgets” rule. Turn off the TV, put away the books and toys, and focus on one another.
- Talk. Develop the habit of talking and asking questions early. Have a jar of questions that can help you start conversations among the children. Ask questions that are open-ended and not answerable by “yes” or “no” like “What was the best thing that happened to you this week?” or “What is your high moment/low moment for the day?” And you’ll be surprised how these simple questions can lead to your children opening up their deepest, most personal feelings to you.
Christmas is one of the busiest time of the year. It is also one of the best times to be with family. Let us make it a priority to spend quality time with the most important people in our lives.