Follow these tips to simplify your family's overbooked life and start spending time together.
In today's fast-paced world, spending time together as a family often ends up at the bottom of our to-do list. Between school, sports, music lessons, academic clubs and other activities, it's a miracle if you get to spend any time together at all.
From a health standpoint, though, it's important to make that time. Mental-health experts say overscheduled children are more likely to be stressed, depressed and have low self-esteem. To keep your kids' health in check, try to strike a balance between outside activities and family time. Follow these tips to simplify your overbooked life and reclaim your time — and sanity — in the process:
1. Limit activities.
While it's natural to want to let kids try lots of activities at least once, don't let them sign on for too many at a time. Weigh the time commitment of each activity, and let them know that if they want to try a new one, they may have to drop an existing one.
2. Make mealtime a priority.
Studies show that children in families who eat dinner together do better in school, enjoy better nutrition and are less likely to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Regular mealtimes lasting as little as a half-hour can help families communicate better and forge stronger relationships.
3. Schedule a regular family night.
Carve out time for fun together. Play board games, work on a puzzle or enjoy party games such as charades during family game night, or just sit back and relax together during a family movie night.
4. Get out of the house.
A family outing is a great way to reconnect after a long week. Take a day trip to a nearby town, visit a museum or get outside for a revitalizing hike or bike ride.
5. Reserve time for nothing.
Some of the best interaction between family members takes place when there's absolutely nothing else going on. Be sure to leave some downtime in your family's schedule to help everyone unwind and reconnect.