10 Tips to Better Family Time
- Thursday, June 07, 2001
Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children are getting less personal love and attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than did parents a generation ago. To help families stay connected, below is a list of helpful family time tips. Keep in mind, quantity and quality time is important when choosing activities. So build memories around exciting events by keeping your family time creative and enjoyable. Print out the following tips as daily reminders.
1. Eat together and listen to each other: Most children today dont know the meaning of a family dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this set-ting is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together allows the opportunity to talk about each others lives. This is a time for parents to listen, as well as to give advice and encouragement. Attentive listening conveys a message that a person is really interested in another. It also imparts a sense of worth and helps develop trust. Therefore, listening is a critical link in successful parenting.
2. Read often: Its important for parents to read to their children. The latest research indicates that reading to your children cultivates an interest for knowledge and stimulates language development. It also increases their attention spans and helps them become more curious. Look for books that your child would enjoy reading. After reading, ask questions about the content.
3. Do chores together: Part of what goes on in the home is the development of teamwork. Functional family life depends on the contribution of everyone. Assigning chores is the most productive way of teaching responsibility and accountability to your children. Doing chores with your child will help foster good communication skills.
4. Help with schoolwork: A great way to spend quality time with children and light a fire of learning is to help children with their schoolwork. A parents eagerness to help will cause a child to become more interested in school thus improving his or her grades. Regular trips to the library for school projects are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to spend time with children. Helping should begin with an understanding that children are responsible for homework. Parents are there to help their child get organized and to encourage them when they get stuck.
5. Start a hobby or project: Choose a fun activity that your child is interested in. Activities like cooking, crafts, fishing or biking will make great hobbies that can open the door to exciting family time. Once a child learns a new recipe or is able to cast a lure accurately, let him or her take the leadwith your supervision.
6. Play games: New technology has made video games more prevalent. As a result, many children are spending long hours in front of the TV playing computer programs. Parents should find creative ways to spark an interest in family-oriented contests such as board games or card games. This will give parents additional time to talk and nurture their relationship.
7. Plan a family outing: Sometimes getting out of the house is important. Hop in the family car and go for a drive. Prepare a picnic lunch and visit a local park. Take time to play catch or ride a bike. A stroll in the woods will help parents interact with their children. Also, a visit to the zoo or museum will spark a childs enthusiasm and lead to lengthy discussions.
8. Encourage athletic activities: It is vital for children to exercise. Sports not only strengthen the body, but also build character and determination. Whether its a father pitching a baseball to a son or a mother and daughter nature walking, finding time for athletic events is important for a childs emotional and physical development. This is a great opportunity for a family to interact.
9. Create a Family Time calendar: Since many parents have hectic schedules, time with children often becomes a low priority whether intended or not. Post a calendar on the refrigerator and have parents and children pencil in special events. Knowing when youre going to meet may also help you think of creative activities. Commit to keeping this schedule free from interruptions.
10. Pray together and attend a church: Nothing is more special than taking a few minutes each day to pray with a child before bedtime. By explaining the purpose behind prayer, children will learn the importance of faith as the foundation for the family. Attending a church will enable children to interact with godly people and encourage them to live virtuous and disciplined lives. When a mother and father go to religious services, they instill in their children a reverence for God. Churches can also offer invaluable support to families.
Copyright 2001 by Family First. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Family First is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the family. Family First reaches people around the world through the "Family Minute with Mark Merrill," a daily radio and e-mail feature providing helpful tips on parenting, marriage and family life. To become more familiar with all the work of Family First, visit their website at www.familyfirst.net
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