“We just don’t get enough time with each other!”
“There’s so much school work for the kids–and we carry our own work home. Where’s the time to talk?”
“How I wish we could at least have an hour together”
“By the time I am back home, I am so tired”
Hectic lifestyles, too much to do and too little time, and exhaustion plain and simple can easily get in the way of having fun together as a family.
Growing up as a child of the sixties, I never had that problem. I lived in a joint family with my Grandma, Uncles and Aunts and Mom. Yes, we had, at any point in time, at least 15 people sitting down to dinner together. Sundays were spent relaxing together, listening to music, playing board games or cards, or going out on picnics, or visiting friends and family.
Today, however, for most families, it is more of a challenge to:
- find the time
- spend that time together, what with family members each bound to their own schedules.
When my son was growing up, we hacked that challenge in our family. And even after he started studying on campus, we stick to some of these.
How, you ask? Why, I am about to tell you!
Both of us had jobs, and of course we went on trips occasionally, but what about on a daily basis? We were determined not to compromise on family time. Relationships are the most important thing in life!
First, we sat ourselves down together with an agenda, some snacks and some milkshakes and coffees. Seriously. Our goal was to find ways to spend more time together.
Without going into the gory details of our discussion, which ranged from hilarious to tear-inducing laughter and lots of silly, ridiculous jokes, here’s what we came up with:
7 ways to find time for family time
Dinner together every night at 8
You know what they say about the family that eats together….This is possible for us as we are all home by 8. Well, I work from home, so that is cool. Husband’s usually home by 6 or latest 7. We enjoy dinner together and this segues into clearing up and washing up together. Plenty of laughter, singing, joking, and teasing ensues and we love it. It also makes sure we eat at least two hours before we head to bed–which is good for health. Late night snacking is usually not encouraged, unless it is one of those weekends when we make an exception and stay up later than usual. In any case, we always stock fruits, to take care of those impromptu movie dates at home!
Watch comedy shows and movies
Some days, we just let the dishes, housework and work be and settle down to watch a comedy show we all like. It is a great way to relax together after an extra-long and stressful day. Just one hour is all it takes to feel refreshed again. Also, nothing like shared laughter. So great for that happy rush. Best part? Keep remembering phrases and situations and laugh at odd times long after we’ve finished seeing the show. Oh, I fondly recall how my son used to giggle in his sleep, filling my heart with the sounds!
Listen to music, sing
All of us love music and enjoy listening together, singing together. My son learns music and practices regularly. I love the days when we remember a song and end up listening to an entire playlist and sing along. Now that he’s in college, he sends us snippets via WhatsApp!
Yes, play! We love playing games. Everything from snakes and ladders, word games, chess and Chinese checkers to quiz, listing ten things about a topic, making collages together, 20 questions and song tag (antakshari). If you’re wondering what song tag is, let’s say I sing a song. When I stop, you must sing a song that begins with the last syllable of my song. This is so much fun!
Nothing like taking a walk with the family! Now this might sound mundane, but it is not. A walk on our terrace is wonderful with guaranteed sighting of different types of birds, a glorious sunset, and plenty of fresh air. Yes, if we wish, we can also carry some chalk and make the red-tiled floor our canvas. We walk briskly for a while in keeping with our fitness goals, and then, slow down to catch up on one another’s day. And these days, we enjoy reminiscing about “those” days!
Visit the lake nearby
We are blessed with a lake that is just a 20-minute walk away from our place. It is a beautiful place with a walking rink around it bordered with pretty flowering bushes. The lake has lots of ducks that are pleasing to watch. There’s even an open gym for those who wish to get a proper workout. We love to go there every once in a while, usually during weekends and spend a pleasant time together.
Get together with friends and neighbors
We live in a great community and have a resident’s club in our apartment complex. We get together on special occasions and festivals, organizing cultural programs. It is a fun group effort that we all enjoy participating in. Every other weekend, we meet up with friends and go on picnics or simply chill at each other’s place after lunch or dinner. And of course, when there are birthdays, it is even more fun. This is especially great as families bond together and are there for one another in an emergency. When children spend time together, they automatically help one another in various ways–school projects, idea-brain-storming, being one another’s sounding boards and then, the older kids help the younger ones with their studies too!
See? So easy and pressure free. We simply found ways to weave family time into our routine.
How do you manage to enjoy family time?
Would love to know in the comments!