Family is important. I’m sure that most parents agree with that statement, and I’m also sure that most parents really want to make time for their families to bond and have fun together.
Stop for a minute and ask yourself: How is our family doing in making time to do things together? If you’re wondering just how much time it needs to be and are not sure if you’re doing a good job of fitting it in, perhaps it would help to look for signs that you’re family is NOT getting enough time together.
These signs are not clinical, nor are they hard and fast. But if you are seeing any of these behaviors in your children, you may want to ask yourself if they are suffering from family time malnutrition.
Your child suffers from low self-esteem.
Children who spend time with their parents build a stronger sense of self-worth because that time makes them feel valued by Mom and Dad. Quality time is a love language for all kids. And when your kids feel that love through family time, their inner sense of security will strengthen.
Your kids fight a lot.
It’s easy to assume that family time is the last thing kids want because they seem to be fighting all the time. But if you can push through that and spend time together anyway, family bonds will form. Studies show that families who enjoy activities together have a stronger emotional bond and an ability to adapt well to change as a family.
After they outgrow the sibling quibbles, what will be left if you’ve not given them an opportunity to bond? Not much of a relationship. Our three kids fought a lot, and it used to drive me crazy, but we still insisted on prioritizing family time. The result? They are now in their 20s and 30s, have outgrown their childish squabbling, and are the best of friends.
Your kids are trying risky behaviors.
Children and teens who spend more time with their parents are more likely to stay away from risky behaviour. According to studies by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teens who rarely have family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.
Your child is struggling in school.
As you spend time helping your children with schoolwork or reading together, you create an environment that places importance on learning. If your child feels comfortable coming to you with schoolwork, they are more likely to perform better academically.
Your child doesn’t want to talk to you.
Sometimes kids take a while to open up, so if you’re not spending very much time with them, then your chances of good communication go way down. Family time offers opportunities for conversation that won’t happen when you want it, but when you least expect it.
Your child doesn’t communicate very well.
Children learn how to communicate by watching their parents interact with others. Family time offers a chance to model that communication. Even something as simple as spending a few minutes together at dinner or a scheduled family “meeting,” can help families learn to understand one another.
Your child struggles with relationships.
The family is the first place that your children learn how to have relationships with others. It’s where they learn how to resolve conflict, share, and care for others.
If your child is showing a lack of friendship skills, it may be that they haven’t learned enough about getting along with others, which could mean that your family’s lack of bonding time is not allowing them to learn and practice those relational skills.
So What Can You Do?
If it’s your desire to schedule and prioritize family time, but you wonder how it the world you can fit it in with everything else going on in your life these days–work, distance learning if you are doing it, youth sports–I’ve got a plan that will show you how it can be done. Take a minute to learn more about my September 2nd webinar: A Foolproof Plan for Prioritizing Family Time.