These days, families are busier than ever.
Between appointments, games, chores, lessons, play dates, work, and school, it seems like there’s not enough time to gather together and enjoy family bonds.
Everybody in the family, kids included, may feel pulled in different directions.
So, how do you make time for quality time?
Here are some easy tips that may help.
7 Ways to Get More One on One Time with Your Loved Ones
When everyone is rushing around, it’s hard to eke out time to be together. Try these tips to make it happen.
1. Cut Out Any Extra Activities that Aren’t Favorites
You, your spouse, and your kids may love being a part of activities, clubs, and extracurriculars, but sometimes you can overdo it. This leaves you running around like chickens with your heads cut off.
If you can, pare down your involvement in activities to free up space during the week.
For example, if your son or daughter is enrolled in more than one sport, they probably don’t have the same enthusiasm or passion for all of them. Ask them which one they love, and cut any others that aren’t as important.
The same goes for you.
If you’re doing a yoga class just because your friend asked you to do it with her, feel free to bow out.
Cleaning up your schedule this way helps you create blanks you can fill in with family time.
2. Kill Two Birds with One Stone When Making Meals
If you find most nights are taken up with meal preparation and clean-up, it’s time to get smarter about things.
Instead of one meal, make a huge batch that can stretch into meals for multiple nights during the week. The time you save from not cooking is time you can use to gather together with your family.
3. Set Aside One Night Per Week for Family Time
Another way to start spending quality time with family is to schedule it.
Set aside one night during the week where you have nothing going on.
Say “no” to any invites or activities on this special night. Instead, plan on a fun outing with your family – go out to dinner, go bowling, or stay in and play board games.
4. Turn Off Cell Phones at Specific Times
What good is family time if everybody is silent and staring at their phone?
Make the family time you have count. Require that everybody put away their phones for the duration.
Block out an hour of zero phone time. It can be during dinner, at night when everyone is home, or some other time you specify. You may find that everyone is more engaged and present when their phones aren’t in reach.
In fact, your kids, especially teens, may be more keen to talk one on one without the temptation of a screen nearby.
5. Do Chores Together
Speed up chores and make them more fun by turning them into a family affair.
Bonus: This totally counts as quality time.
Enlist help from the kids for setting the table, washing dishes, raking leaves, dusting, sweeping floors, and more.
If you can, make it into a game. See who can make their beds the fastest (and the neatest), who can rake the biggest pile of leaves, who can get the floor cleaner, or who can set the table the most artfully.
Use your imagination and chores will instantly turn into a fun time with family.
6. Prioritize Quality over Quantity
Even if your quality time is brief, remember that the depth of that time is more important than the length.
Say you only get half an hour to have dinner together as a family one or two nights a week. It may be brief, but if that entire time consists of good conversation, laughs, and stories, it’s perfect as-is.
Don’t worry about the amount of time you spend together as long as those minutes and hours are good.
Quality always matters more than quantity.
7. Emphasize Open Communication
If your family struggles to find time to spend together, try to maintain open communication about your schedules.
Talk to each other and engage whenever you can, and always make an effort to be together.
Be honest about what you can do and what you can’t.
Bottom line: No family is exactly the same. What looks like quality time for another family may not be in the cards for you.
Find your own definition of fun, loving, engaging time spent together. Make it into a tradition and embrace your unique connection with your loved ones. You’ll enjoy yourself more, relax more, and look forward to the next time you’ll all be together.