Technology has nearly overtaken our lives. Between that and our overstuffed schedules, family time has nearly become a thing of the past. Most families don’t eat dinner together, as a family, around the dinner table, with phones off or out of reach. Even if they do sit together and eat together, they often each have a device that they are focusing on and not on the family. Friday is a great opportunity to break that cycle and spend time together as a family.
Turn it off
Start with turning off the devices. My family likes to have some background music. That’s probably ok, but turn the TV off. While it can also serve as background noice, it is much greater a distraction than music. We want to be focused on each other, not on whatever is going on on the TV.
Set it aside
Digital devices are a real and very useful part of our lives. We may often feel as if we can’t live without them. BUT, truth is, we can indeed live without them. Set them aside. This removes the temptation to check social media in the middle of the game, or meal. Trust me, Facebook will be ok for a little while without you. I actually recommend putting the devices in another room. However, if you feel the need to have them close in cast they ring then set them on an empty chair a few feet away from the table. Maybe place them in a bowl somewhere on the table, where they can be reached, but are out of sight.
Make it a priority
Our children will not remember every detail of the time we spend together. But, they will remember if you made it a priority. Our lives are very busy. Perhaps busier now than at any point in our history. This makes it really easy to let important things slide for the sake of things that seem more urgent. The unfortunate truth is that you only have one chance to be parent to your kids. The relationship you build with them while they are with you will have a HUGE impact on the relationship you have with them for years after they are out of your home. Family time matters. Make it a priority.
Focus on fun
If family time is not fun, then it can end up feeling like a chore for you and your kids. Let’s face it, scrubbing the baseboards together, as a family, is not fun. While there is great value in doing work together, as a family, there also needs to be times when we have fun just for fun’s sake.
If you have not spent a lot of time focusing on fun, then it might be hard to find some things that your entire family can enjoy. But, even the time spent trying different things will be of value. AND when you find an activity that you all enjoy, then you are set up for many fun times in the future.
Just do it
This whole “family time” thing can seem like just another thing on the schedule. When viewed as another obligation it can be overwhelming. But, it’s worth it. Just do it. If you start doing it and stick to it, then it will become a part of the rhythm of your family’s life and will no longer require a ton of thought or work.