10 Ways to Up Your Quality Family-Time from 2017

By Jenny Steadman January 13, 2017

My oldest is 9 years old and the other night she had a huge breakdown. She misses us. She's at school all day and we're at work. Then we get home and it's time for homework, extracurricular activities, dinner, dishes, laundry, and bed. Everyone is busy and there is no "us" time. She's right. After a long talk with her, here are ideas I have to get quality time together. 

1. Be conscious of it. We get so busy. As soon as the kids get home from school, they are doing homework while I'm making dinner. We are all home but not "together." Make a conscious effort to sit with your kids, even if it is just for 10 minutes, while they have a snack, do homework or whatever they do right after school. They have been gone a long time. 

2. Sit and do work together. Sometimes I use the excuse of their homework to sneak away to my office to do some more work of my own. Not any more. Now I bring my computer to them and we have study time together. And yes, they are allowed to interrupt me. 

3. Enlist them to help with things, like dinner. Dinner does have to be made and the laundry has to be folded. Instead of doing this separately from your children, enlist them to help you. Make it special parent-and-me time and they can't resist! Even if they don't help and just sit and keep you company. 

4. Learn to love board games. Kids love games, but even more so, they love games with YOU. Play with them and enjoy the time together.

5. Read with them. No matter how old they are, kids love when you read with them. Whether you read to them or sit and read next to them, it is still a shared experience.  

6. Listen. Kids talk and talk and talk and our brains are all over the place thinking about stuff we need to get done. Well, stop it! Get to their level, look them in the eyes and listen. This is invaluable. A kid who knows they are listened to is a happy kid.  

7. Hug more. So simple. Hug. Hold hands. As humans we have an amazing sense of touch and hugs can often be the best medicine. 

8. Make one-on-one time. It's hard to have quality time when there are multiple children in the house yet it is important for each kid to get the attention that they need. The other night I played a board game with our oldest while my husband put together LEGO bricks with our youngest in another room. It was perfect!

9. Get involved at school or in an extracurricular activity. Whether it is an official volunteer position or helping at a one-off event, kids love to see their parents involved in what they are doing, especially school!

10. Find a regular family activity that is good for everyone. We have been fortunate to find a Taekwon-do studio that has family classes. All 4 of us (kids are 6 and 9) are able to take classes together and practice with one another. Even better, while they are getting a kid-style workout, we get an adult-style workout... all at once! It's win-win for everyone!