Down time? What on earth is that?
Yes, I expect we all know what the phrase means, but there seems to be precious little of it around.
Despite this, it’s highly likely that there are small pockets of “down time” in between all of life’s busyness. These are the times that can be turned into “family time”.
We don’t need hours of time to enjoy being with the people we love,” said Lissa Coffey, family and relationships expert for Hasbro games and author of Getting There! 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Learn What Matters Most in Life. “Catching moments here and there, at home or while waiting at the doctors office, helps to create memories and will build strong, lasting relationships.”
She comes up with some ideas for making the most of short pockets of time that could otherwise slip past.
To avoid “nature deficit disorder”, get outside – even for just a few minutes. Not only does it distract kids from modern entertainment, but it helps them to appreciate both the family, and the natural world around them.
Congregate in the Kitchen
In other words, cook and eat together. Eating is something everyone has to do, but it often happens separately.
Even if it’s not possible to eat together every day, make time at least once a week where the family can sit together as one unit, converse, relate, and bond.
We’ve covered this simple but precious activity in the past:
- Making the most of mealtimes and the art of conversation
- The importance of families eating together
- Teens may avoid social problems by having family meals
- September 24th: Family Day: A day to eat together with your children
Fun and Games
Coffey recommends that families create an “activities” closet or bin where favourite games and puzzles can be stored, making a “go to” place for family fun.
We’ve covered issues surrounding games before:
- Computer games can help adults bond with their kids, casual gaming survey reveals
- Kids, toys and games
- Relieving boredom, strengthening family relationships with new activities
Coffey recommends that families find hobbies to enjoy together. Knitting, building model airplanes and scrapbooking are examples of “blast from the past” hobbies that promote family togetherness. Hobbies like these lend themselves to projects that can be worked on for a few minutes at a time over a period of days or weeks.
“Parents should remember that their children will value any time they spend with them,” said Coffey. “As long as you value time together, relationships will continue to grow and strengthen, and families will have memories that will last a lifetime.”