With 60 hour work weeks, extra lessons, extra-curricular activities, exams and all the hustle and bustle of life; how can we find time, to spend quality time with our families? Plain and simple; children, from birth to adulthood, need quality time and meaningful attention from their parents. Parents often focus so much on raising a “successful” child that they overlook how spending time interacting with their children will lead to the child’s success. This does not mean rushing from school to extracurricular activity to supervising homework. Interactive time is that spent with both child and parents fully engaged in an activity together.
Here are some benefits of family time:
- The child feels important and loved – Feeling loved, valued and supported by one’s family is crucially important for a child’s personal development especially in their formative years.
- The child has an opportunity to model parent’s behavior – Children live what they learn so why not increase the chances of them learning appropriate prosocial behaviours by observing your interactions while engaging in an activity.
- The parent can observe and learn about the child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to better guide them – Is your child a sore loser while playing games? Is he assertive in communication? These questions can be better answered when the child spends time outside of school activities.
- The child has a chance to voice their thoughts and feelings – Often times the main topic of conversation between parents and children is related to school and academics. Engaging in family time allows for discussions about other issues.
- The parents and child develop a stronger bond- Quality time improves relationships, fosters healthy communication and strengthens bonds.
- Both parents and children get a chance to unwind – Life is stressful for children as well believe it or not. Spending time as a family allows for both parents and children to de-stress.
Here are some suggestions of family time activities:
- Family meal time
- Hobbies such as drawing, art and crafts,
- Games night/Movie night
- Religious activities.
- Shopping with the family
- Visit concerts, movies.
- Outdoor activities such as hiking, walks, bicycling, picnics, or camping.
Written by Jhanille Brooks, Mental Health Counsellor & Rehabilitation Specialist