5 Things You Lose When You Don’t Spend Time With Your Family

For years, my wife, Kirsten, and I have been taking our kids to a place called Pine Cove Family Camp. It’s a getaway in South Carolina where visitors stay in cabins, shut off the cell phones, and connect as a family. It’s so life-giving. It restores us, and we look forward to going. We’ve been so many times now that the staff remembers us by name when we come back each summer.

You don’t have to take expensive trips to maximize time with family. You just need to value the benefits of connecting while you can. From birth to high school graduation, parents have less than 950 weeks with their children. Those weeks will fly by. Maximizing our moments means making the most of their upbringing. I don’t want to miss a thing, and I know there are major drawbacks if I skip family time. Here are 5 things you lose when you don’t spend time with your family.

1. Ah-Ha Moments

Ever solve a problem or spark a great idea during a conversation? It feels like a breakthrough, and I think all parents want moments like that with their parenting. Ask about your child’s emotions. Dig into what’s challenging him or her. If you want those ah-ha moments, you’ll have to start the dialogue. I find this happens more naturally when you get away and eliminate distractions. That’s when conversation blooms and those ah-ha moments happen. If spending time with family is intimidating, start small.

2. Red Flags

Just as important as stumbling upon an ah-ha moment is finding a red flag. We don’t always know what’s bothering our children or what struggles are crowding their mind. That’s because many kids are not quick to offer up that information at home. But there is something about getting away from busyness, schedules, and daily pressures that can crack the door for intimate conversation. If something is troubling your child, creating a time and place where they can reveal it is irreplaceable.

3. Influence

With kids, time leads to influence. When I was in the NFL, I was on road trips a lot and missed things during the season. Work may have you feeling the same way. We lose influence when we aren’t around, so prioritizing time together shows your family you are invested in them. Giving your kids 100 percent of your attention when you’re spending time with them leaves a big impression. They are more likely to hear what you have to say and let it impact the decisions they make.

4. Your Family’s Trust

Trust is built during repeated moments of true connection. A single chat won’t do. Be consistent. Don’t expect your kids to listen to you if you’re just a passing presence and disengaged. The less time you spend with them, the shallower your relationship. The shallower your relationship, the less trust they’ll have in you. So, increase your level of trust by increasing your quality time with family.

5. Memories

You don’t get do-overs for making memories with your family. Even if you aren’t scrapbook people, live as if you wanted to fill up every page. Do the fishing outing. Plan road trips together. Take them to the lake. Pour into your children emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Think about whatever you hope the conversation is like around the Thanksgiving dinner table 30 years from now, and go do it.

Sound off: If you could plan an ideal getaway with your family, what would it look like?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite thing to do as a family?”