As a parent do you ever find yourself rushing to take your kids to their sports practice, or music lessons multiple times a week?
Do find it hard to have your whole family home for dinner on weeknights?
When my wife and I became foster parents to my six-year-old nephew we quickly realized that we needed to change our lifestyle by eliminating our social activities during the week to ensure our child was in bed by 9:00 each night so that he could get the rest he needed to be his best in school and at play. What a joy it was to be able to have dinner as a family each evening and even set aside one night a week for a family game night. It created a whole new dynamic for our family.
That was thirty-one years ago and it caused me to notice that many parents and children today are involved in so many activities throughout the week that they never seem to have time to be together as a family.
Recent studies have shown that the average family spends an average of 34 to 37 minutes together each day. One in four parents admit they’re too busy to spend time with their kids due to the all-too familiar pressures of modern-day life, new research reveals.
A recent article on the Focus On The Family website stated that in their analysis of U.S. Christian homes, a primary challenge for some families was the fast pace of life. In our in-depth observational analysis of U.S. Christian households, a primary challenge for some families was the fast pace of life. For these families, the problem was self-induced through the over-scheduling of their children’s activities. One mother commented that the biggest challenge to her marriage was how “the kids and their activities have somehow made it to the top of our priority list.”
Life seems out of control for these parents as family life revolves around coordinating their kid’s activities. Family dinners, time with the spouse, and household chores took a back seat to the kid’s gymnastics, soccer, baseball, dance and other experiences orchestrated out of a sense of parental responsibility. These were “child-centric” homes where one or both parents acted as if it was their role to facilitate rather than regulate their kid’s activities. The parents were unhappy with their out-of-control schedules but also felt that eliminating activities would be unfair and hurt the kids.
In another article I read a mom name Lindsey realized that by having too many activities in their schedule she found herself constantly frazzled and always frustrated with having to shuffle the kids from one activity to another until one day while at a swim lesson for her 5-year-old twins she had had enough and said “I can’t do this anymore”.
She and her husband met and together they decided to take a season off from any extracurricular activities and let themselves breathe and the results were amazing. Lindsey shares how after changing their schedules she could physically feel the stress leave her body. The kids had nowhere to go after school and now had time to play.
How is your family doing in this area? Does your family spend enough quality time together?
Are you and your kids happy with your family’s current schedule?
Here are 5 tips families can use to stay on top of their busy schedules and even eliminate some activities to allow more time to spend as a family.
- Create a paper calendar that is posted in the home where each family member’s appointments are in a different color.
- Create a Google Gmail account like email@example.com and post all the appointments on the shared family calendar and install the calendar app on each family member’s phone. Parents and older siblings will need to help smaller children keep track of their appointments.
- Meet as a family at the beginning of each week to review each family member’s schedule.
- Plan a fun time for the whole family to be together at least one night a week like for a game night or a family outing.
- Listen actively and give your children permission to openly talk to you about how the current schedule is working for them and give each child permission to request changes they would like to make to the schedule.
I hope these tips help you make wise choices for your family and allow you to create multiple opportunities for your family to build strong bonds and happy memories that last a lifetime.