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How To Make Time For Your Family - Articles Surfing
Recently, Prince Andrew was reported as saying 'I believe fundamentally that the family is the most important thing in life'. And this belief probably holds true for most people, but like the diet we have every intention on going on, or the cigarettes we have every intention on giving up, we just don't get around to it, often until it's too late. It's the same with family and children. Do we grab the moment now, savour our time with our children, or wait until they've grown up and are caught up in their own lives? I know this is easier said than done, but often, however tight we are for time, most people are willing and able to make time for things that matter to them. There are people who have passions in life, be it water sports or model trains, who will make time whatever to pursue those passions.
This became apparent to me recently when I went to a funeral. It was the funeral of a 97 year old lady who I had befriended in her last year of life, to take her out for a 'much-needed breath of fresh air', being somebody who was confined to her small home and unable to go out unless in a wheelchair. There weren't a lot of people at the funeral, just family. I was an 'outsider', only having briefly met one of them who had invited me to the funeral. I quickly learnt that, apart from nearest family, some of them had not seen each other for many years. Isn't it always the case, that relations rarely meet unless at weddings and funerals? The deceased did not see many of them. She was a deeply lonely lady, craving company like she'd had when young. Although crippled, her mind was as active as a 20 year old. It's often at funerals we rekindle family relationships, with every intention of meeting up more often, but for some reason we slip back into old habits, caught up with work and play, and do not fulfil those promises, even though they're promises made from the heart, and with the best intentions.
So, given that we are so caught up in work, DIY, housework, and life, how do we make time for the family?
1. Ask yourself, why am I so busy? What am I doing, and is it helping to strengthen our family, or causing us to be apart more often? Is what I am doing really worth it? You may find that, when you stop and think about it, there may be activities you can cut out, or you may find ways of managing your time more effectively.
2. Strong families make it a priority to spend time together, and are committed to each other. This does not have to mean organising great days out, but doing everyday tasks such as running errands, household chores or playing games together. Have a notice board in a prominent place in your home, with a daily REMINDER that your family comes first. This may seem crazy, but our hectic lifestyles with work and school mean we can frequently forget to take time out and work on our family relationships.
3. Some of those issues that have been important to you, on reflection, you may be able to re-prioritise. For example, household chores, like cleaning, or not allowing your kids to do 'messy' activities like painting or cooking. Being less fastidious about such issues may unlock time for being together and having fun.
4. Is your child attending lots of after-school clubs? Some parents like to feel that their child is constantly occupied and gaining new interests, and this is great, if that is what they are really doing. If a child loves doing many activities, that is good, but some children like to have time-out to relax at home, and often, following one or two interests or hobbies allows them to appreciate and put more time into them than to cram lots of interests into their routine.
5. Switch the television off. Make space to talk to each other. It may be a nice activity to watch a program together, but generally watching TV is not a social activity. In fact, more often than not, it gets in the way of social interaction.
6. Aim to have at least one meal a day together as a family. This is a difficult one if you have teenagers who have an active social life of their own, but however possible, make sure everyone gets together to talk about their day, share ideas, thoughts and feelings. It may require a change in mealtimes to accommodate everyone, or a new 'number one rule of the house'.
7. Try to establish something your whole family enjoys doing together, like a hobby, or a form of exercise, cycling or hiking. This can give a common interest that all can enjoy together and talk about. If you've got a difficult teenager, then find his or her motivation, and organise some days and activities for the whole family around that.
As parents you are the 'figureheads' of the family, so the responsibility is yours to bring the family together. Doing so will bring you closer, help you to enjoy your family, and hopefully give your children some great memories as well as examples to follow when they are grown up and have children of their own!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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