Spending quality time as a family is important not only when children are young but also as they get older. Busy schedules of work, school, and extracurricular activities can make shared time a real challenge for families.
Quality family time generally does not happen all by itself. Do some planning to bring family members together. Think about things you can do as a family, such as:
- Eating meals together
- Playing volleyball or football at the park
- Swimming at the community pool
- Flying kites, riding bikes, roller-skating, or going horseback riding as a family
- Washing and waxing the family car
- Walking in your neighborhood or hiking as a family
- Playing tag in the yard
- Repairing things, painting, or gardening as a family
Physical activities also help you and your child keep a healthy weight.
Have your family think of ideas for weekend outings, fun activities, or projects that the family could do together. Ask family members to list 5 things they enjoy doing together as a family and 5 new activities they would like to do in the future.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Have dinner together and take turns talking about each other’s day. If you can’t have dinner together, find a time to gather each day to talk and listen.
- Read a book together as a family. Ask questions or ask children to change the story or make up a new story.
- Play board games or card games together. Games help children learn how to win and lose, and how to take turns and be patient. Laugh and encourage each other. Let each child take turns choosing the activity each time.
- Start family traditions. For example, make a holiday ornament every year, have a family game night every Friday night, or make chili every Halloween.
- Plant a tree each time there is a birth, graduation, or family achievement.
- Go on field trips together. Places to visit might include a working farm, farmer’s market, bakery, museums, zoo, puppet show, radio or television station, or the state capital.
- Start a family scrapbook with pictures and souvenirs from family outings and vacations.
- Plan one-on-one activities such as meals, bike rides, or movies with each child. Spend some time each day paying attention to each child.
- Record an interview with a grandparent. Possible questions:
- What did you like to do when you were my age?
- Where did you live as a child?
- How many brothers and sisters did you have?
- How did you and grandma/grandpa meet?
- What do you like to do now?
- What do you like about your house and neighborhood?
- Make family placemats by drawing or writing something special about each family member.
- Make homemade cards with your children. Make birthday, get-well, thank-you, valentine, or friendship cards by drawing, stamping, or cutting out pictures. Write a message on the card just for the person. (Have your child tell you the message if he or she cannot yet write.)
- Create a family newspaper with headlines, artwork, photos, and stories about recent family events. This is a great gift for grandparents and other relatives.
- Prepare foods as a family, such as bread, pasta, ice cream, or holiday cookies.
- If children are old enough, volunteer together at a food bank or shelter.
Make sure the adults in the family spend time together without the children. You need to be able to care for yourselves to be able to take care of your children. Find a healthy balance between spending time with each other and spending time as a family.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-28
Last reviewed: 2014-10-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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