How important is family time to you?  Have you ever set a whole day aside just with your family?

Maybe you went on a hike and left all electronics at home, or maybe you are reading this thinking, “you mean no cell phone…no way!”  I know some of my favorite times in life are when I am with my family.

I love when we all leave life’s distractions behind and choose to just spend time together.  I think it really shows our kids where our priorities lie.  A recent study in the United Kingdom found that 1 in every 10 families reported that the only time they were able to be with their kids was when they were watching television together.  GASP!

I know, I’m glad it’s only one but that’s ten out of 100!  Although I do agree that watching television with kids allows you the opportunity to monitor what they are watching, I can think of a million things that will foster a positive relationship in a much better way!  If you have limited time with your kids, make it count.  Turn off all your distractions, even if that means leaving your house.  Making the effort to actually take TIME OUT for your family is so important.

So many times when I just crouch down and ask my toddler what he wants he will just smile.  Then I realize that he only wanted  me to pay a little more attention to him.  As I have observed other families, I have seen  (as my own mother could testify) that this need for attention does not go away with age.  “If you don’t give your time freely, your children will begin to demand it. These demands often materialize in a negative way. Even spending just 15 uninterrupted minutes with your children individually can help strengthen your relationship with each child.” (LSU Research) Family is the fundamental unit in our society, making a relationship between parent and child one of the most important.  Children need the attention of their parents and “instinctively children seek this parental attention.”

The benefits of taking time out to be with your family are numerous, but there are a few that are truly amazing.  In an article found at familyfacts.org, numerous studies were cited showing the benefits of leisure in the family.  The first study discussed that participating in “core” leisure activities (the ones you do every day like going to the park, playing a board game, washing the car together, etc.) leads to greater emotional bonding in a family as well as increasing the families ability to adapt to difficult situations.

Another study discussed how a child whose mother frequently communicated with them, through asking questions and listening to them, had higher academic success.  A different study directed at fathers found, Preteens whose fathers spent leisure time away from the home (picnics, movies, sports, etc.) with them, shared meals with them, helped with homework or reading, and engaged in other home activities with them earned better grades in school, on average, than peers whose fathers spent less time with them. Similarly, teens whose fathers engaged in activities in the home and outdoors, spent leisure time, and talked with them earned better grades, on average, than teens whose fathers spent less time with them.”

Family Time Advantages:

  • Fewer behavioral problems.
  • Less likely to engage in violence.
  • Lower risk for substance abuse.
  • And less likely to experience emotional distress.

Wow!  What a no-brainer!  We need more family time in our lives! And by the looks of things, doesn’t it seem like stronger family bonds might be the answer to many of society’s problems today?  So toss your iphone on the bed, cancel your appointments, leave the dishes in the sink, grab a pizza for dinner, and make time for some much needed family time.  The benefits are incredible!