As a parent, you understand the importance of family time. And as it turns out, studies have validated what you already know. Focus on the Family notes that spending a lot of quality time with your kids helps create a safe and loving environment in which they feel accepted and cherished. Quality time also helps the entire family bond and form meaningful relationships.
While you want to spend time as a family, it’s often easier said than done. Schedules are full and not always the same among family members. If you have kids of varying ages, it can be tough to find activities that everyone enjoys. Fortunately, it is possible for family time to be fun for everyone. Check out the following ideas:
Eat Dinner Together
Getting together at the kitchen table for dinner does more than fill your family’s stomachs. According to a survey from CASAColumbia, kids and teens who eat with their folks three or more times a week are less likely to be overweight and more likely to eat healthier food. These kids also do better in school, get along better with their parents and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking or using drugs. Do whatever you can to synchronize your schedules so your family can eat dinner together at least four nights a week. Make it a rule that the TV and phones must be turned off. Remember that the typical family dinner is only 15 to 30 minutes long, so you can find time to squeeze it into a busy schedule. And, be sure to ask everyone to suggest some favorite meals that are easy to cook.
Watch a Movie
A great way to spend time together is by curling up on the couch with some cushions and blankets, a huge bowl of popcorn, and some favorite beverages and watching a movie. But if you have kids of different ages, it can be tricky to find a movie that everyone likes. Fortunately, there are a variety of films that appeal to parents, kids and hard-to-please teens. The Dig lists 10 movies that are great for family night, including “Mulan,” “Labyrinth” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” You can either stream the movie on Netflix or pick it up at one of the movie rental kiosks at the grocery store.
Relax the Rules
A fun way to spend time together is to host a rule-free or silly-rules night. Change into your jammies in the late afternoon and gather around the picnic table in the backyard for breakfast for dinner. Talk about your day while munching on bowls of Cheerios and piles of pancakes. Then, head back indoors to play a board game or two. Let your kids put off their homework until the next morning or, if you want get really crazy, let them play hooky for one day. Relaxing the rules now and then as a family can help everyone kick back and enjoy the time spent with each other.