It’s official: too many families are working longer hours and travelling further than ever to get there. The survey, shared in the Daily Mail, shows we spend, on average, just 36 minutes as a family during week days and 2 hours 20 minutes at the weekend. As well as parents’ busy work schedules, the issue is also compounded by chores, school routines and evening clubs that combined leave us with very little time to enjoy each other’s company.
Of those surveyed, around 65 per cent have suggested they’re also concerned about the amount of time grandparents spend with the family. As a result they have either taken or are considering taking a break with the whole family. Taking a break with the family is a great way of spending much needed quality time together, which is also one of the real benefits of taking a short family holiday at Center Parcs. However, there are a few other tips to maximise the time spent together at home.
“We now spend, on average, just 36 minutes per day as a family during the week and 2 hours 20 minutes at the weekend”
After a stressful day at the office it’s easy to get home and spend a bit of time with the family on autopilot, before putting the children to bed quickly so you can sit down and relax. It probably makes us feel a little guilty thinking about it, but I’m sure it’s something we all do. I know I do.
But with a little more time spent and a couple of new ideas, you can maximise the time you have together.
1. Splashes and squeaks
On a typical day I’ll get home from work at about 6.30 and I try to pack the next hour or so with time with my kids. It all starts with bath time. It’s a great 15 to 20 minute period to pack in some fun when children are still young. I remember a game my dad played with me and my siblings that I’ve called “squeaky hair game”, where you can make your kids’ hair squeak after washing it by holding the bottom of the hair with one hand and pinching and gently pulling down the hair with the other.
2. Eating together
After their bath we’ll sit down and have dinner as a family. The little ones will have already eaten earlier, so we just give them warm milk and maybe a snack while we have our meal. I always bear in mind we only bathed them 20 minutes ago, so it’s best not to get them dirty again! It’s another great period of time to just talk about each other’s day without the distraction of the TV. It also gets the children into the habit of sitting at the table and eating together as a family.
3. Calm down time
As Harrison is 4 and Zachary only 2, I’m lucky that my kids are still quite young as calm down time, as I call it, is a great way to spend the last half an hour together before they (hopefully) go to sleep. This half-hour window can range from a cuddle while watching TV to reading their favourite book together. For me, this is the most important time as you can ensure they go to bed in a good mood. I usually make a little story about them and their day once they’re relaxed and tucked in to help them drift off.
How do you make the most of your family time? Send us your tips!