The Secret to Fitting in Family Time and Making it Great!
Strapped for time?
Work, school, the gym, extracurricular activities, social obligations, play dates, medical appointments... the list goes on and on. Managing your family’s schedules might seem like a juggling act you can never quite perfect, especially when it comes to finding time to spend together. But guess what? There’s a secret to fitting in family time – and quality family time – that you might not know of. The truth is, any time can be family time. It’s sitting right under your nose. The key is to take the time you do have and find ways to make the most of it.
Make chores a family affair
Instead of zoning out to the TV while you fold laundry or do the dishes, turn your chores into family time by getting the kids involved. Give everyone an age-appropriate task and chat while you clean up the living room. Let them help you prepare meals by fetching ingredients or reading recipes to you. Teach them new skills as they grow older, such as how to wash the car, care for their pets or how to recycle. You’ll be spending time together while getting things done.
Prep meals in advance
Save time throughout the week by prepping meals ahead of time. Split up your grocery list and let your older children help you with the shopping. When cooking dinner, make enough so that you’ll have leftovers for the next night or two, or cook double the recipe of side dishes that can be paired with multiple entrées.
Eating all of your meals together is impossible, but if you can, try to do it as often as possible. Consider pencilling in quality family dinners each week so you can reconnect. And when you can eat together, make sure that you’re truly engaging with one another. Make the dinner table a no-phone zone and ask meaningful questions. Even if you only have 20 minutes, you can make it count.
Take a stroll
Working in a little exercise is an excellent way to spend time together while staying fit. Skip the gym from time to time and go for a walk or a jog as a family. You can talk while enjoying the outdoors and maybe even explore some local parks or trails while you’re at it. Singapore has some amazing parks and trails that are family friendly!
You have your friends and your kids have theirs. Instead of spending time with friends separately, get everyone together from time to time. Have your children’s friends over for a movie night or sleepover and get to know them. Have your own friends over and let your children join in the conversation instead of planting them in front of the TV. Spending time with each other’s friends equals more time spent with each other.
Create a bedtime routine
Creating a bedtime routine guarantees that you have some family time every night. Go over your children’s school work with them, help young ones with a bath and brush their teeth at the same time each night and read a chapter of a book as a family. And consider waiting until after they’re in bed to reply to emails and text messages.
Talk to your boss
If you’re a working parent and feel it might be feasible, consider speaking with your boss and ask if there are any ways you can spend more time with your family. You might be able to negotiate a plan in which you can leave the office a bit early a few days a week by eating your lunch at your desk. If you need to put in overtime, perhaps you can do so from home. The answer might be “no” but it’s worth asking all the same.
Ask for help
On the occasions when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and family time seems unattainable, remember that you aren’t alone. It’s OK to ask for help - colleagues, friends and babysitters are there to take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Let them help you with small errands and other tasks (ordering a birthday cake, baking cookies for school event, costume for Halloween). All of these tasks add up and can keep you from spending time together as a family, and that it’s OK to rely on others for help.
Making time for family time
As an international school, we at Stamford American know that nothing is as valuable as the time you spend together as a family, especially when living abroad. And with a little planning and support, you can maximize the amount and quality of time you have together every day. When you are at School, do connect with the PTA and meet like-minded parents.
If you are keen on visiting or learning more about Stamford American, please do contact us.