I feel like the old adage is coming true; time goes by as you get older. My children are growing very fast, and my mother-in-law’s brain is beginning to realize that there is very little growth before my oldest children leave home.
That’s why I’m really trying to start some family traditions and try to have a standard time as a family. While I hope our kids still want to spend time with us as teenagers, we are focusing on family time while they still enjoy it.
The importance of family time
This research focuses on the importance of family time and building a family culture. Children from families with a strong and positive family culture do better on tests, feel safer, and are more likely to have parents when they have a problem.
Of course, unnatural family time is often when we forget the strong memories of childhood. Just having a conversation on a lazy Saturday, or memories of cooking dinner together, is unforgivable. It’s hard to plan these unpredictable relationship times, but I’ve found that planning family activities on a regular basis makes it happen on its own.
I am not the kind of mother who likes to spend hours on the floor playing longbo with her children. (I gave birth six times so my kids will always have a sibling to play with!) Also, I like to spend time with them and try to make sure we always have family activities together Spend time for
Our family schedule is a bit unusual from home school and weird house chores, but we always take time out during the week to work together. It could be a family game night, a backyard basketball game, or a camping trip, but it’s always a priority for our family program.
And I find it; in our busy world, it’s great to think about making time to work together as a family, but it’s really hard to do. Here’s a hint that helped me find ways to make time.
A “last day”
I heard the idea from one of the guests on the Tim Ferris podcast, and fell in love with it. He said that every week he has what he calls “Terminal Day”. Basically, he spends time doing things he used to do if he found out he had a temporary illness. “We’re technically all terminals because none of us revive it, so why don’t we just spend a few days with our loved ones,” he said.
For me, that might mean going to school for two days a day with the kids and going to the movies the next day. Or taking a child to help them work on someone’s project or new idea. Or just a picnic in the backyard on a random Tuesday.
Every week (often Sunday) this day helps me focus on the really important things in life.
Ideas for family time traditions
Here are some of our favorite family time activities:
Family game night
It was my parents’ family game when I was a kid, and now I enjoy sharing it with my kids. Playing board games or playing cards as a family often leads to humor and interesting conversations. It doesn’t happen every week (because my husband isn’t a big fan of board games), but we try. Here are some of our favorite games:
- Monopoly (children’s favorite but it lasts forever. We usually pair it with an adult with each small child.)
My kids were really helpful in checking out my book recipes, and we have some great memories from cooking. I like to cook with my kids for a few reasons:
- I have to cook anyway and enjoy the company
- They are learning a skill that we can use forever when we cook together
- When they help with cooking, they are more likely to eat
One of my favorite family kitchen resources is Kids Cook’s Real Food Course, which teaches the basics of modern cooking techniques in an easy-to-learn way. My kids love it and I like to cook with them while someone else teaches them (via video).
Soft rock week
When my husband and I got married for the first time, we were really short of money. We couldn’t afford to spend more on food and bills, and with insight, I like the way we spent our wedding at the time. He brought with us free experiences and traditions and praised them. One such tradition we have created during this time is Soft Rock Week.
Basically, on Saturday mornings, we would get up and turn on the soft rock playlist on his iPod and have breakfast and clean the house while belting songs. The tradition continues and still, our kids wake up on Saturday and say “Soft Rock Saturday!” When I have breakfast, it often turns into a dance party.
Now, the tradition involves replacing Amazon Prime music stations, such as their soft rock stations, or James Taylor, Simon & Grafunkel, Chicago, Air Supply, and other 1970s classics.
It turns out that camping has many health benefits, but it is also a great relationship experience. It definitely depends on the weather more than some other activities, but our kids love it! Sometimes, camping is as easy as setting up a tent in the backyard or camping in a tree house. You don’t have to like it to enjoy it! If you don’t have camping equipment, here is our overview of our tents and camping gear.
Another favorite in our house!
A few years ago, everyone received a Nerf gun (this one) and some extra ammunition for Christmas. Every once in a while, we have an epic family fight and the kids love it. Sometimes it’s parents vs boys or boys vs girls and we make different rules every time.
The best part? This can be done indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. It’s fun for kids and it’s a fun family activity.
My mother was really good at reading to my brother and when I was a child. I remember growing up reading a lot of books to us over breakfast. In fact, I “read” it first (heard) The light of history And Little House on the PrairieThus, with many other books.
Admittedly, I’m not as good at reading aloud to my kids. Most of them read freely now, but everyone likes it whenever I read it aloud. We try to get them to read the story more often at bedtime or at breakfast.
Another favorite in our house. We try not to default on movie nights most of the night, but kids love camping on the living room floor and watching movies together. If the movie we are watching is based on a book, we try to read the book before watching the movie (or at least let the children read it).
Our kids love art activities, and we will sometimes spend time painting, drawing, or painting. The simplicity of these activities makes them perfect for facilitating great conversation.
You don’t even have to be an artist. This collaborative block through the Block Art Project is one of our favorite choices because it’s easy to do, doesn’t take any special materials, and is interesting for all ages.
Bottom line: making time for family time
In today’s fast-paced world, family time seems to be one of the things that often breaks down. I’m pointing my finger at it! But at the end of the day (and at the end of my life), these are the times that matter and we wish there was something else.
Family time does not have to be expensive, extensive or structured. Finding some easy ways to spend time together each week helps build a family culture and has a lot of positive effects for all of us.
How does your family spend time together? Share your thoughts below!