Life nowadays seems to be all about “24-7.” Many of us are bound by time and believe we never have enough of it. Not enough for ourselves, not enough for our families.
1. Prorate your priorities.
Create a small index card with a simple list of 5 to 10 priorities, customized to your family. Make sure “family time” is on the list. Then, when you are making decisions, have the card in front of you to keep things in perspective.
2. Be the example and bite the bullet when necessary.
This won’t even begin to work if Dad always has an excuse, an out, or something more important when it comes to family plans. Sometimes this means telling your family, “My friends wanted to take me on a golf outing, but I’m committed to our morning at the beach.” Be the leader, especially when it’s difficult.
3. Plan for family time.
If it’s not on the calendar, chances are, it won’t happen. This is a simple principle that is often overlooked. Family time is not an afterthought; it’s a priority.
4. Don’t waste the time that you have.
Make the most of the time you have. Don’t fritter away an evening when you’re all at home without doing something together, even if it’s just one hour for an impromptu visit to the ice-cream parlor.
5. Put a family calendar in the kitchen and use it.
Coordinate the family schedule from a central location that everyone can use. Everyone can write stuff in pencil, but only a parent gets to change it to ink. Get into the habit of requiring everyone to check in and be intentional about working together.
6. Call a weekly family meeting to coordinate family life.
The calendar can be finalized at a regular family meeting. Plan for this. It may be awkward at first, but it’s worth the deliberate intention.
7. Schedule regular family dinners.
Three times a week? Four? Six? You make the call and then stick with the plan. Family mealtimes are mini-family meetings. They should never include television and can be the cement that holds the family together.
8. Monitor, restrict, and maximize screen viewing.
Rampant screen time can suck community right out of the house. Limited and planned viewing, together, can be a great family activity. The key here is to be in control of this resource rather than allow yourselves to be controlled by screens.
9. Make family time pleasurable.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s important. It’s teaching by doing. Pay attention to the quality of family time. If it’s confrontational, negative, or just plain boring more often than not, then it’s obviously counter-productive. Make sure family time is something the family looks forward to. Then it will increase naturally.
10. Build sports schedules around the family, not vice-versa.
Important question: Who is in charge? No, seriously. When family time is the priority, then other events support the family. But when things other than your family priorities call the shots, it’s difficult to be anything but reactive and reduced to always playing catch up.
Sound off: What are some other ways we could make more quality family time?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some ways you’d like to spend more time together?”