It’s 8pm. Mom is sitting on the sofa, reading her Kindle. Dad is on his iPad playing with a newly downloaded app. One kid is in his bedroom texting with friends from school, and the other kid is watching TV—essentially alone.
Does that sound like a weeknight at your house? If so, you may be among a growing statistic. Many families are having a hard time staying connected with each other in this high-tech world we now live in. I don’t believe technology is the enemy, but time management may be.
How do you stay connected as a family living in the 21st century? Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I’m Latin; therefore my first idea revolves around food! Bring back the family dinner! Not just once a week, but as many nights as the schedule allows. Some will tell you that it’s sitting down to eat a meal together that’s most important. Maybe that’s true, but I find that preparing the meal together is a lot of fun! I find it to be the time when we laugh the most and have the fewest “walls” up. Even the tightest-lipped teenager will talk during meal preparation for some reason! Get in there and make a mess with your kids and your husband. If you have little ones have them help by tossing the salad, setting the table or adding ice cubes to the glasses. Everyone has a job! I’ve found that older kids love to get the opportunity to cook! If schedules won’t allow time to cook together, then by all means be together over whatever meal you do have! Chick-fil-a works just as well as homemade baked chicken when quality-family time is the focus!
Have you heard of Family Game Nights? Before our recent move, Wednesday’s were our game night. We’ve slipped a little over the last three months, but I really miss doing it! We made Wednesday the no-TV night at the house. Instead, we would choose what game we’d play together. You can do this as a group decision or take turns on a weekly basis. If the weather is good, bring those games outside! Miniature golf, horseshoes, beach volleyball, street baseball /football; whatever your family loves to play—just do it together!—And be active together!
Take an after dinner walk together. I personally LOVE this one. When’s the last time you enjoyed a casual walk with the family? I’m not talking power-walk, either. As a child, I remember doing this many times. We lived in the suburbs, so our walks consisted of just a few blocks…and on some summer nights, we’d walk an two blocks up to Thrifty’s where an ice cream cone was a special treat! Unlike car trips, walking somehow opens up dialogue with the family. (See how food found its way into this? I’m hopeless!)
This may seem obvious, but worshipping together is vitally important to family life. Children and teens who lack religious connections today will be the spiritually indifferent adults of tomorrow. (The Patriot Post-archived). I think we can see what our society looks like when many who have a voice in education and government are spiritually indifferent. Faith makes a difference, and for a Christian, it is our foundation. Go to church together. If the church you are attending isn’t meeting your needs, then find one which does. Worshipping and learning God’s Word together is such a fundamentally important family activity!
Studies show that a characteristic of strong families is that they spend time together. Quality, fun times spent with parents is so important to children’s growth and development. Children will definitely appreciate the memories of these family activities! The great news is that the initial result of just spending a little more time in family centered activities will greatly strengthen your family bond.
What are some of the ways you choose to spend quality family time? Let’s discuss it here!