Time is defined as LOVE in the eyes of children. The fast pace of modern-day family life can make it easy to forget that simply just spending time with our children is really important.
The importance of family activities is based on the social, emotional, and physical maturity of your child and how they can establish and understand these development stages.
Without the time spent with your family, there will be a disconnect from what you and they value and communication is the first to disappear.
During a lockdown, this is more critical due to the nature of always spending time together in the same household and sometimes you would like to walk away and have your own time. Even if you have spent all day with them doing schooling, working or your own thing, you still need to separate that and create 1 hour of family quality time.
Firstly, let’s discuss some simple examples of activities that you can do as a family:
- Go for a walk or exercise together.
- Drive to a location where interaction is key like a park, picnic or even shopping
- Turn off all TV’s and digital devices and sit at the table to have dinner, lunch or a snack
- Sit with them while they are doing something of interest – like while they are watching TV, on their phone or even while they are outside playing.
- Friday Fun meals – take away or fun cooking meals that someone in the family picks each week
- Help them with their homework by sitting next to them so they ask you questions.
- Play board games or computer games together.
- Sport – watch or play sports together.
Your goal is to create family time and create opportunities for communication, where the family can love and understand each other, happy moments and memories.
The following benefits further emphasise the importance of family time:
Helps build confidence and self-esteem:
Spending time together can help parents understand the strengths and weaknesses of their children. It provides the opportunity is show them value in what they are interested in and also creates a positive sense of self-worth. Confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance and quality time with you will provide this.
Teaches children social skills.
As a parent, you assume that your child gets their social skills from being around friends or when they attend school, but actually, it comes from the bonding experience that you share with them. This can be challenging when they are teenagers, so having that 1 hour of quality time is more important. In the early stages, these social skills are developed by the interactions that you have together which create naturally and help with resolving conflicts or be open to talking about things they are concerned about.
Teaches positive and healthy behaviours.
The simplest things like having dinner or lunch together as a family can create great eating habits and some bonding between the family. You might not think it makes a difference because your child does not talk but something as simple as this has proven to lower the risk of children rebelling or risky behaviours with others.
It encourages communication
This is the one topic that we speak about often, but the power of good communication is vital to a child’s development. Communication creates a sense of importance to a child feelings and makes them comfortable to talk openly about concerns or triumphs. Listening is also key in communication, a good way to practice is with having dinner as a family.
Creates empathy, love and kindness.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘focusing on others, makes you happy’. This statement is so true when it comes to a child’s development. Because when you focus on them and show love and kindness towards something that they value, children develop these habits and pass these traits onto others. Love is also vital as it shows your child that they are important to you and that you are willing to spend time with them over your daily demands.
Need more information of someone to talk to:
WAYS has a range of youth specialist services ( G.P’s, psychologists, case managers, two alternate types of education pathways) to specifically assist young people and their families that cater for education, mental health, physical health and practical assistance. Parents can attend our effective parent groups and receive therapy if required as well. They should talk to their G.P. In some cases, I would advise young people to also seek out an adult they trust to get support and advice around whatever issue they may be facing.
Visit the WAYS website to learn more about our community-based organisation, including our resources for parents and our programmes for children and teens.