Spending quality time with your family is important
SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY IS IMPORTANT
I am a happily married woman and a mother of two children, and many readers ask me how do I maintain a happy marriage and a good relationship with my kids. Honestly, there is no secret – that is to spend quality time with my family on a regular basis. That might sound obvious, but it is a problem for many families.
I know, most of us are caught up in a hectic whirlwind of activities which start on Monday morning, end on Sunday night, and then, repeat. You cannot live without checking your email on your mobile phone even if you aren’t at work. You are constantly solving problems, answering endless phone calls and exchanging text messages with your boss, while your kids sit before the big television watching Angry Bird. You are often angry and frustrated because you felt torn and guilty for not spending enough time with your family, yet doing nothing to bring the family together. Yes, yes, yes, all of those are important, but so are your family, your kids, your spouse! It doesn’t take a genius to realise that but it takes a lot of effort to build strong bonds with your family.
Spending quality time with your family is important – it helps our children to feel more confident and secure, builds stronger family bonds and is good for our own emotional health.
10 TIPS TO FREE UP TIME WHEN YOU ARE OVERWORKED
- Figure out what’s essential and prioritise
- Make dates with your family, put it on the schedule, and make it the most sacred
- Get the important stuff done early so you don’t have to work late
- Realise you won’t get everything done
- Cut back on meetings
- Watch less TV
- Limit your time online
- Start work early
- Learn to say no
- Stop checking email after working hours (whenever possible, I know it’s tough, we’ve all been there)
Ultimately, remember your priorities. Remember what’s important to you, who’s important to you. You worked so hard for your family. It would be ironic if you lose your family because you worked too hard and neglected them all. Find the balance.
CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY
Connecting with your spouse, children and parents are very important. And to connect, we need to create time to talk and listen to each other. There are ways to maximise family time! And it really helps when our folks lead by example because we subconsciously follow their footsteps! I’m fortunate to come from a loving family and more fortunate to marry a man whose family treasures time spent together! Strong family values are important! If you find it really hard to squeeze time for your family, here are some small but good ways to start connecting with your family.
HAVE DINNER TOGETHER
Make it a point to leave work on time so you can make it home in time to sit down to dine with your family. We always make it a point to have dinner together as a family, and here I’m talking not just with hub and our children, but also with my parents-in-law and grandma! I’m not sure about you, but I grew up having dinner daily, or at least on weekdays, with my entire extended family. And I love the cohesiveness! I guess, the kind of togetherness we had in old days had rubbed onto me, thus I don’t have issues living with a big family. If you must know, we are a family of four generations, living under the same roof!
FIX THINGS TOGETHER
Children love to help fix things. To us, it may seem like a mundane task, but to most kids, it’s a new experience and they look forward to learn and help! Even changing batteries for a toy is fun to them!
HAVE TEA TOGETHER
We are Toast Box loyal members! We have tea and coffee there so many times a week, they should make us their ambassador! Sonia and Arnold are not left out in our usual family tea sessions! They drink milo while we savour our beverages and talk about almost anything under the sun. Yes, the kids join in our conversation too, whenever they can or cannot! Haha… And times when we are not at Toast Box, we head to East Coast or Bedok 216 market for a cuppa coffee and local delights!
Every night, hub and I make it a point to read to the kids. First, it’s a good habit. Second, it’s a great way to spend time together. Sonia and Arnold will choose the books they would like us to read to them, and through reading, we share ideas and values with our kids!
BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL OR CLASS
Make it a point to personally bring your children to school or class as much as possible. It allows you to spend more time together. Make travel time, together time! I always remembered how my dad always sent me to and from school, and to any tuition centres daily. Don’t underestimate travel time however short. I had the best conversation with my dad in the car and he learned about my school life while chatting with me over the fifteen-minute car ride.
I’m not sure if baking is your kind of thing, but it is my kind of thing! And I try to rope in my kids! Well, this is tough but I try to let them help as much as possible! Sometimes they make me feel like pulling my hair out but the sense of accomplishment of baking a cake as a family is very satisfying. Awesome opportunity to bond! Whether the cake turned out nice or not, is secondary. There’s so much love in it already! And if you would like the recipe to my soft and fluffy, slightly charred on the outside and moist on the inside, kind of pandan cake, click here. Have fun with your kids!
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Pick up a new activity together. Learning something new can open up new ways of communicating and bring interest and life back into your conversation with your family. Recently, my MIL and I took up pilates again and we totally enjoyed it! I tried teaching Sonia some moves but she was not the least interested. LOL! And my kids and I took up photography! We just learned off the Internet. For now, it would be an achievement for them to just be able to capture us in the picture!
CELEBRATE ALL FESTIVE TOGETHER
Besides CNY, and Christmas, keep track of important events such as family birthdays, job changes, graduation, anniversaries, births, etc. Recognise these important events and make time to celebrate with your family. Remember milestone events is often appreciated and remembered.
HAVE BREAKFAST TOGETHER
Try to work around your schedule. For me, I have breakfast with the entire family every weekend. And on weekdays, I try to have breakfast with hub as much as possible. Bonding between spouse is as important as bonding with the kids. And once or twice a week, I have breakfast with my MIL. Yes, I know many have heaps of issues with their MIL and having breakfast with them is beyond them but I happened to have a very kind, thoughtful, and considerate MIL. You might be interested in reading about my relationship with my MIL here.
CREATE A GROUP CHAT
It’s nice to keep your family updated about your life despite the distance. I create group chats for both hub’s and my family. With our brothers all around Australia, it’s an awesome platform to share our day-to-day life with each other! Keeping in touch and knowing how everyone is doing becomes a lot easier when everyone is on the same conversational page. When you make it easier to know what is happening in each other’s lives, you make it easier to appreciate and understand each other. And when we meet during their summer breaks, we don’t feel like strangers.
TRAVEL AS A FAMILY
Travelling is good for the family. If you have some spare cash to spend, invest in a vacation for the entire family. It need not be somewhere far aways. There are lots to explore in neighbouring countries too. The key here to to break away from daily routine so you can get relief from the continuous stress and make time for the family. Beside bonding the family, traveling allows you to learn experiences, create memories, and connect with each other.
PLAN WEEKLY ACTIVITIES
It doesn’t need to be an elaborated excursion. Just doing things together as a family works! It could be painting, swimming, dancing, crafting, cycling, taking photo, or what not! As I’m typing this, hub brought the kids down for a dip. Don’t judge, I was under the weather, thus I gave it a missed! What I’m trying to say is that, doing activities as a family isn’t difficult. We all just need to find time and be committed to spend time with the family. Impossible is nothing.