A family heads towards the beach by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Children can greatly benefit from the sense of belonging that comes from having a close family. It only makes sense as well that spending more time around your children can help them make better choices regarding their physical health. Most families don’t have hours to spare together, especially when both parents have careers. That is OK! What you should do is to make what time you do spend together really count!
Here are five simple ways you can do this (and some you might already be doing!):
1. Eat at least one meal a day together as a family. Eating meals together is a good way to ensure your entire family is eating healthy which will encourage good eating for years to come. The bonus here is that eating together encourages more conversation about your daily lives and nobody is so busy that they can’t listen. Talking while eating (but not with your mouth full!) can also increase the amount of calories burnt! Ensure the TV is off, Phones are off and no discipline talk (within reason) to get the most out of the meal.
2. Try to schedule in family time regularly. Even just a half hour spent together can create an amazing opportunity to have fun and talk. Think quick board games, card games or a trip to the local farmers market!
3. Proactive listening. Depending on your children’s ages this might seem like fruitless labour but at some point asking simple questions about your child’s day may help them open up. If they already have no issues sharing information with you, continuing with this practice may keep communication and trust open.
4. Aim to get active together once every week or two. Going for a walk or a bike ride is a great way to spend time together and increase physical activity – plus this is a great stress reliever for Mom and Dad!
5. Do chores together as a family. Children can dust, vacuum, help with the dishes etc… This will not only help give them a sense of responsibility but may just open up more free time to be spent doing fun things!
Do you have any other tips for making the best out of what time you have available?