Habit #3 – Being Together

January 7, 2015

Healthy Families take the time to doHealthy families take the time to do things together.   Back in the day, parents were told that time with kids was ALWAYS quality vs. quantity.  What we know about parenting today, however, is that the amount of time is just as important as the kind of time.   You need to do things together – a lot.   Spending time as a family makes memories that hold your family together like Super Glue.

One of the most effective things you can do together as a family to strengthen the bond among you is to eat meals together.   Families usually get this idea but have considerable trouble implementing it, so get creative!

  • Feed your kids early then let them join mom and dad for dessert
  • Get everyone in on the cooking so that they get more invested in the meal
  • Use Table Topics or our 5 Questions to Ask at the Dinner Table as conversation starters –
  • Make your family meal breakfast or Sunday brunch – who said dinner was the only opportunity for connection?

You may find that your kids don’t want to do some things with the family as they approach adolescence.  This is TOTALLY normal (and often aggravating).   They are figuring out their role in the family and searching for a balance between connection and independence, as they should.   However, it’s still very important for them to go with the family at times, even if they don’t want to.   You may have to allow them other times with friends in exchange for time with the family.

Of course, there will be plenty of times you can’t spend time together as a family.   Life gets in the way. Parents have to work late, kids have school projects or homework or practice for one thing or another.  The prospect of eating a meal together makes you cringe.  Don’t try to be perfect with this.   Do the best you can.  Take a hike, walk the dog, paint a piece of furniture, go on a neighborhood scavenger hunt, play a board game – anything goes!

If one or the other of you as parents can spend time with the kids, do it.   This is better than not spending time together at all.   You may have to trade off doing this; that’s okay.   Making the memories is the important thing.  There are no prizes for being able to juggle school, work, sports, homework, parent conferences, scouts, exercise, mealtime, new episodes of Scandal…In other words, sometimes you have to choose – and there is a prize for great family togetherness!

Your family is more important than most other things in your life.  When you make connection and family time a priority, many challenges in communication and behavior fall away!  Try taking a look at your calendar and set aside some family time in the next two weeks – no huge expectations, no matching shirt Facebook/Instagram photos.

Enjoy the view!  Do you have a comment to share with us?  Want to give us more insight into the stuff you see on your parenting journey?  Send us a comment below – we read and respond to everything you share!  And we LOVE a good (or way the opposite of good) family story!

Until next week, Be Wise!