Are you under the impression that the world kind of sped up in the last couple of decades? Many working men and women around the globe have less and less free time, as their workdays get longer and longer. Whether you are an ambitious entrepreneur or your boss keeps asking you to work longer hours, one thing is certain: your family time is dwindling. Finding new ways to add extra time to your family life is essential, but it is easier said than done.
Organize a family movie night
The recent rise of streaming services has taken all the romance out of watching movies. Not only do people no longer visit movie theaters as they used to, but watching a movie at home has become a solitary pastime.
This doesn’t have to be the case in your home, as you can round up the family one night a week and organize a screening for the whole family. Sometimes you will watch a thriller, while on other nights the children’s preferences for cartoons will be taken into account.
Taking lessons together
One of the biggest traits of parenthood is the teacher role you assume towards your kids. From tying shoelaces to helping them decide which college to enroll in, you are constantly giving (life) lessons to your children.
However, if you spend a lot of time at work and lack the time to teach your children, why not learn with them, instead of teaching them? Take an art lesson, start playing an instrument, or learn to ride roller skates.
These are all fun activities you can learn alongside your children, strengthening the child-parent bond in the process. For example, learning to ride roller skates means that both of you will take quite a number of falls, respectively, but each time you help each other back up, your mutual rapport share will improve. Learning together gives quality time to your family life.
Involve your loved ones in the work you do
Taking your kids to work or showing your spouse what you do every day is a great way for them to better understand your absence from home. Once they see for their own eyes when you are doing when you are away from home, they will have more understanding of the times when you are missed dearly.
In fact, you can involve your loved ones more often in the work you do: a teacher can have the children grading papers, a fireman can let his kid turn on the fire truck siren, and a professional driver can take his/her spouse along for one of the long hauls.
Take a tech timeout
Even when you are home, the chances are that you are not spending quality time with your loved ones. The oldest son is playing a game in his room upstairs, the youngest daughter is talking on the phone with her girlfriend, and your spouse is browsing the internet for various knickknacks.
You can end this chaotic family behavior by agreeing on a single tech-free night a week. As tablets, smartphones, and TV sets go silent, family members open up, and you start sharing memories and thoughts like you never did before. You will be surprised how this will change your family life.
The office environment can be hectic at times, so you often respond to conversations, e-mails, and call mechanically, as if you were a robot. There is nothing wrong with this kind of communication because it preserves your mental health, but you should adopt a different strategy when home.
You should be absentminded when conversing with your parents, children, and spouse. Mindfulness is the name of the game if you want your family life to thrive. Once people around you notice your honesty and focus on family life, the respect they have for you will instantly increase.
Short bursts of undivided attention
If you work long hours and get to see your children late in the evening before bedtime, then the weekends are the time you make up for everything. This tactic is wrong because children benefit more from short bursts of undivided attention.
Spending the entire Sunday with them will eventually bore them, regardless of how much you have that day. Train yourself to short affection often but in shorter intervals, no more from 5 to 20 minutes throughout the day (at weekends and on workdays).
Taking up gardening
We’ve mentioned earlier that there are countless hobbies you can take up with your kids. However, one of the best hobbies is gardening because you needn’t leave the comfort of your home to tend to a garden.
All you need is a plot of land, garden equipment which you can find on sale online, and an hour a week to plant, water, and nurture flowers and vegetables. The biggest perks of gardening, besides spending time in nature, is the opportunity to create something together with your loved ones and then watch the fruits of your labor (literally) grow.
Calling your parents
“Family life” is a term that doesn’t only encompass the people you live with, as your parents are an integral part of your family, but you have likely moved away from the home you grew up in. Whether you’re a college student of a parent in his/her 40s, don’t forget to call your parents from time to time.
Ideally, they should hear from their daughter or son every day. The conversation doesn’t have to be very long; everything under 5 minutes is enough. For them, it is important for them to know you are OK. Lunch breaks at work are ideal for such phone calls.
Getting some exercise with your partner
If you are conscious about the way you look, you have surely allocated a couple of hours weekly for exercise. Cycling or hitting the gym both count as physical activity, but exercising doesn’t have to be a solitary activity.
If your partner shares the same body-sculpting ideals or you have managed to educate him/her about the importance of staying physically active, then you two can exercise together. If you enjoy lifting weights, your partner will make for an excellent spotter, or if you’re into cycling, they can be the pacesetter.
Set your priorities straight!
We have stressed earlier the importance of having an understanding family. If they know what you do at work, how you perform your job, and most importantly, why you do what you do, then they will have more understanding of your frequent absence.
Before you are ready to sit down with your family and explain to them all this, you have to set your own priorities straight. Although professional commitment and family life can be perfectly balanced, they are not important the same. Keep in mind that family comes first and make sure your parent, children, and spouse hear this message loud and clear!
Fixing the house together
Just like exercising, there are other activities you can share with your family members. Children, for instance, love to help around the house, even when their help is not needed, to say the least. However, the next time you are painting the picket fence or repairing the kitchen sink, consider soliciting help from the youngest members of the household. Not only will the kids be thrilled with the fact you are allowing them to help, but you will bond with them like never before.
What drive your loved ones forward?
One of the biggest downsides of working long hours is the inability to find more about the things that the people you care for are passionate about. Perhaps your daughter took up volunteering at an animal shelter, or your son started playing football, but you haven’t had the time to observe them do what they love. Therefore, as soon as you have enough free time, take an interest in the hobbies of your family members, and take an active part in them if possible.
Who are your children’s best friends?
To easiest way to lose control of your child as a parent is to let them hang out with the wrong people. Teenagers are especially in terms of friends’ selection, so you need to keep track of with whom they are going to school, sports, drinks, etc.
Teenagers are outgoing, but they lack the objective knowledge of the world, i.e., they have little experience of how interpersonal relationships work. Use the time you are present at home to check on your children’s social contacts. It would be great if they could invite their best friends over for you to meet them.
Cook for your family
There are folks who adore cooking for their friends, family, and strangers. Then again, there are people who find it hard to make a cup of coffee. Whichever of these personalities you belong to, you should make the effort of preparing a nice hot meal for your family members.
For millennia, people have been bonding over food, as the act of eating has something sacred to it. By staying home longer and preparing food, you send an unambiguous message to your family members that you care for them and that they mean the world to you.
Team-building activities during office hours
People employed in HR departments often go crazy when it comes to team-building ideas. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, but it can complicate employees’ lives if their schedules become too packed. Namely, team building activities often take place over the weekend, taking away precious family time from employees.
Visiting a waterpark with your colleagues and friends is fun, no argument there, but once you add travel time, you lose an entire day, you could have otherwise spent bonding with your children. For this reason, all team-building activities should really take place during office hours.
These are just 15 ways you can increase the quality of family time without jeopardizing productivity at work. After you realize the true importance of family time, you’ll find novel ways to bond with your family.