29 Nov Making The Most of Your Family Time
We all know that life is busy! When you are juggling children, school, work, therapy, sporting, and social commitments, it can be difficult finding quality time to spend together as a family. When you do make time for family activities, it can result in bickering, negotiating, and pleading from the children.
Time is a tricky concept to manage, and theories suggest that every person needs a balance of 3 different ‘types of time’ in their life. Adults and children all need to manage their own balance of time spent with their family, alone, and one-to-one (with their child/parent). Within this theory, the key to making family time more enjoyable is by making sure that each person has had their own ‘time needs’ met.
The 3 Different Types of Time
Family time (otherwise known as activity time) is time that is spent with two or more family members. Often, this time revolves around a specific task or activity. Eating dinner, visiting the beach, visiting the zoo, or going on a holiday are common examples of family time. This time can often be a cause of stress. Parents are doing their best to minimise challenging behaviours and resolve arguments, whilst trying to enjoy and appreciate the time spent together as a family.
Alone time is needed to for us to rest, relax, and recharge. Adults might spend this time doing exercise, watching a movie, or engaging in hobbies. For children, quiet time might be reading a book, playing with their toys, or drawing. This is time that we spend processing our feelings and ideas, and can help us feel more in control of our self and our environment. It is important that we all make the effort to have alone time, and every person has their own ideal amount of alone time.
One-to-one time is quality time spent with just one child sharing in a mutually enjoyable activity or experience. This is time that you can spend appreciating your child for the individual that they are, and can lead to growth and nourishment of your relationship.
Give It A Go And See What Happens!
For the next two weeks, here is some homework!
Each day, find 15 minutes that you can spend with your child. Label it; call it ‘our time’ or choose a special name. This will help your child understand that this is important time that is just about the two of you.
Go outside, or find a screen-free /distraction free room, and shut the door. This time does not always have to be ‘task driven’. You can simply just ‘hang out’ or let your child play. Follow their lead, take a step back from directing the play, and appreciate your time together. If your child has difficulty with free play, perhaps try doing a puzzle together, building with blocks, listening or dancing to music, or reading a book.
Benefits to spending this quality time together may include improvements in your child’s confidence and play skills, and strengthening of your unique bond.
At the end of two weeks, where has it taken your relationship with your child? Have you noticed any changes in the dynamics during family time? And remember, ensuring that you have quality alone time is another important piece to the family time puzzle!
For More Reading…
My Time, Your Time, Our Time – Time Management for Better Relationships: http://gordonparenting.com/time-time-time-time-management-better-relationships/
The Value of Spending One-On-One Time With Your Children: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/once-upon-child/201507/the-value-spending-one-one-time-your-children-0
One-On-One Time for Infants & Toddlers (Wait, Watch, Wonder): http://www.psybernet.co.nz/files/watch-wait-wonder-Cohen_Lojkasek_Muir.pdf
7 Science-Backed Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2017/08/05/7-science-backed-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone/