Did you know that is a period during the day that is called family hour? It’s the time that TV uses to broadcast programs of general interest to the whole family. This is also called ‘family time’, which seems to me to be a ploy to get families to park themselves in front of the TV and drift away from each other for three hours. That doesn’t really sound like time spent with the family. Does it? But, because the people behind the TV shows know the importance of family time, they try to sway you to believe that it is.
When I picture family time, I don’t picture people zoning out in front of a TV. I picture a family laughing and doing stuff together. I picture quality over quantity. I picture a time where kids can feel loved and parents can feel connected to their kids and each other on a deeper level. And I picture a time when the whole family can come together, despite their differences, and share in an activity that actively engages them.
Putting The Emphasis On Real Life
Because of TV and the Internet, more and more people are disconnecting from their lives and plugging into other people’s lives. This is not only a waste of time, but it can detract from happiness in many ways.
– It can cause you to compare yourself to fictional characters.
– It can cause you to spend time away from your family members and spend time with other people’s family members.
– It can influence how you feel about life in a negative way, because many TV shows are created with controversy and stupidity in mind.
It’s about time that we made real life family time more important than spending time with fictional characters or people we don’t know. And, that starts with the adults in the family.
The Importance Of Family Time
If you are not convinced to carve out a portion of your week for family time, then you may have more cons in your head than pros. It’s important to understand how much family time actually works in our favor. Following are the reasons that you need to make family time a priority.
1. There Will Be A Time When You Can’t Spend Time Together Anymore
This needs to mentioned and mentioned again, because this is something many of us have learned the hard way. When your grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, sibling, or child dies, you can’t make the choice to spend quality time with them anymore. That choice is taken away from you. But, worse, you regret all the time you spent on useless things when you could have been spending quality family time with your loved one. Hindsight makes this so clear, and we never think we are going to lose the people closest to us, but it happens all the time.
For instance, a young 13-year-old boy on YouTube died suddenly not long ago. Caleb Bratayley was fine one day and died of a heart condition during the night. His parents and siblings didn’t expect not to have another chance to kiss him or spend time with him, but it happened. And, it could happen to you.
2. It Helps You Get To Know Each Other Better
Your family is always changing and growing. Most of their thoughts and new beliefs will not even come into your radar if you don’t have some quality family time together. But, during family time, talks about goals, dreams, and important things can come to life, which makes this a unique way to get to know the people in your family.
3. It Helps You Practice Acceptance And Compassion
Your family is going to express some different views and opinions during family time, and this is a great way to practice acceptance and compassion towards others. Developing these skills will help you when you are having struggles in your relationships. It will help your loved ones feel more valued as the person they are. And, it will strengthen your family bonds even more.
4. It Gives Everyone A Sense Of Value
Bullied kids, bullied adults, and stressed out everyone can start to feel like they are not valued very much by anyone. That can cause them to devalue themselves and lead to things like anxiety, low self-confidence, and depression. Moreover, it can lead to suicide.
Family time makes everyone feel like part of a team. It makes everyone feel as though they are valuable and needed in some aspect, which can help them get through the tougher times in life.
Also, your sense of family is something that you can always fall back on when you are struggling with the other relationships in your life. For example, when someone is yelling in your ear something negative, you can remember your family’s positive words about you and counteract their negativity.
5. It Creates Shared Laughter
Have you ever had quality family time that was all business? Well, maybe once or twice, but for the most part I’m willing to bet that there was a lot of laughter and fun involved. The type of laughter and fun that you don’t always have in your day as you work, go to school, and do household chores.
Laughter is good for everyone’s happiness and health. In fact, laughter can help reduce pain in the body and give clarity in the mind. Laughter is a real medicine and is actually used as a therapy to help people feel better and boost health. And, laughter is known to burn calories at 50 calories per 15 minutes. So a good bout of laughter after dinner could be the exact thing you need to help burn it off.
6. It Occupies Your Mind
Do you want to forget about a stressful day or stop thinking about something that is worrying you for a while? Family time can help you do that. As you focus on the people in your family and what you are doing, you will be more present in the moment and less focused on the past or the future. Being present is very good for your mental well-being, as well as for your physical well-being.
7. Unleashes Your Creative Side
It feels good to unleash your creative side after a serious day. Family time is usually spent playing games or having fun, which is all about creativity. The major benefits of creativity include stress relief, gaining self-awareness, and gaining the ability to problem solve. In other words, if you are tackling a problem at work or in your life, spend some time with the family getting creative, experience the benefits, and then go back with a fresh and ready mind.
8. It Gives You A New Perspective On Your Home
Sitting around the TV feels familiar, but when you all gather in the living room for some family time, your home looks completely different. This is because you are more present and aware of your surroundings, so you notice the feel of your home, the look of it, the way people move in it, and even the smell of it much more. It makes your home feel more like a home rather than a place you are sitting in spending some time until you go to sleep.
9. Encourages A Better Path For Kids
Kids benefit from family time in a big way. Not only do they get all of the above, but they also get future benefits, such as less likely to have issues with behavior and less likely to get involved in gangs or in drugs. In other words, kids that spend family time with their loved ones, and get a lot of nurturing during that time, will make better choices for themselves. Experts say this is because they are less frustrated with themselves and their life, and are more capable of choosing to avoid artificial highs, such as breaking the law or taking drugs. They have less of a void in their life to fill.
10. It Gives You A Place To Share Important Things
Your coworker doesn’t want to hear about your promotion, but your family will! Similarly, the kids at school won’t want to hear about a classmate’s excitement for a book report, but their family will. Family time is a time when you feel connected, and that is when all the beans are spilled because we all want to share our excitement and important thoughts with other people we feel connected to.
How To Make Others See The Importance Of Family Time
We all have a set of values that we live by. Those values dictate what we want to do most with our days. If your value is family time, but your partner’s value is watching TV, then you are not going to easily convince them about the importance of family time. However, it can be done.
First, share the above list with them on the importance of family time. Chances are good there will something that resonates with them in that list and they will agree to spend more time with you and the family. Even if they do it reluctantly, you will find that they will enjoy it and consistency with family time will even make it a habit they look forward to.
If that doesn’t work, lead by example. Even if you only have one other family member spending time with you, the other family members will see it and want to have the kind of fun and connection that you are building. They will feel left out, in a way, and that will encourage them to come around and be part of the team.
Also, get them to consider other’s needs. Often times when they feel that others will benefit from the family time, they will be more willing to see the importance of family time and engage themselves. For instance, telling a father than his son really wants to spend time with him can be the exact push he needs to make family time more important.
How To Get The Most Family Time In A Busy Household
Some people say that ‘quality time’ is shorthand for ‘not very much time’. But, that’s because we have made our lives so busy from morning to night.
Family time would be super easy if we all stayed in the home surrounded by family and never had to do anything else, but that’s not the case. Between work, school, obligations, hobbies, and other activities, family time can easily get pushed to the back of the schedule.
One way to spend more time together is to reduce the need to do other things. For instance, if you are working too much, then you may have too many bills to pay or too many things to buy. You may need to work on your budget or a debt repayment plan so that you can free up some money obligations and stop working the long hours.
You can also cut out obligations that you don’t need to really attend. If you are unsure of what to cut out, weigh the obligation against spending time with your family and see which one comes out ahead. If the importance of family time wins, then cut out the obligation and devote that freed up time to family.
It’s also important to create a schedule that allows you to see when everyone has time to spend together and then schedule in family time. I know it seems very weird to schedule family time, but it will help everyone make a commitment to it and ensure that it actually happens.
You might be amazed at how much time there actually is to spend time with family when you write out a schedule that clearly shows which blocks of time are left wide open. The downside is that this is usually time that everyone wants to watch TV or lay around, but if you make it a priority to come together, you will end up enjoying it much more than doing nothing.
And, if you don’t have any time in the day for family time, then try to be as present as you can while you are around your family. The importance of family time demands it. For instance, while you are heading out to an activity, take the time to talk and play a car game together. Or, while you are getting ready in the morning, take the time to sing or dance together. Find the moments that you are all close together and make those moments into family time moments to remember.