How do you overcome the challenge of balancing professional responsibilities, as a working parent, with family time? Life gets busy but there are several strategies you can use to make the most of your time with your family. Here are easy ways to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories.
Schedule It In
The first thing you need to do is prioritize family time by adding it to your schedule. All your important meetings and deadlines go there, and family time is just as valuable. Setting your intentions and adding family engagements is a good way to remind you to carve out important time with your kids.
Besides the birthdays, soccer games and holiday parties, schedule weekly quality time moments like half-hour walks or family date nights. Being a working parent isn’t easy, but having reminders of your commitment to spending time with your kids will encourage you to skip an impromptu after-hours meeting.
Log Off for a Few Hours Every Week
Family time has several benefits for kids such as boosting self-confidence, enhancing physical health and lowering the risk of behavioral problems. Considering healthy relationships can increase your lifespan by up to 50%, there’s much to be said about the health benefits of spending time with family.
Be intentional about the quality of the time you spend with your family. Watching a movie with your kids while your laptop is open may seem like a good way to multitask, but your kids will only remember your distracted glances from behind the screen in their memories.
Set one day or a few hours on the weekend to disconnect from all texts, phone calls and emails. This allows you to focus on connecting with your family in meaningful ways. It also gives you the chance to learn about your kids and what they enjoy – an opportunity to develop family inside jokes and memories that last a lifetime.
Plan Family Dates
A family date is a time set intentionally to focus on making memories and connecting with each other. Depending on your schedule as a working parent, it can be anything from half an hour to a few hours. As long as you are spending quality time together without distractions. Some fun, short activities include exercising together, getting manicures, cooking together, and walking to the park.
When you plan, encourage your kids to give you ideas on how they want to spend their time. Let one child decide on the activity each time so everyone gets a chance to share their interests. Whether they’re toddlers or teens, giving them the platform makes them feel special and included.
Try to prioritize outdoor activities and leave all devices inside. Studies show that spending time outside reduces the risk of depression, which is important for both parents and kids. A few great ideas for outdoor family activities include hiking, fishing, visiting a farmer’s market or just organizing a family sports game in the backyard.
Make Time Every Day
Even if it’s just ten minutes, consistency is what’s important. The small moments build up and positively impact family relationships in the long term.
Having dinner together as a family every day is a great place to start. However, when parents work evening shifts or children have after-school activities, that’s not always an option. Here are some alternatives:
- Play the highs and lows game in the car. On the way home from school or to soccer practice, ask your kids about the high points and low points of the day.
- Read a book at bedtime. Most parents do this with younger kids, but you can continue this daily habit as your children grow up.
- Set morning intentions or affirmations. Take a few moments before everyone heads out the door to say some encouraging words.
Fitting in More Family Time Intentionally
Incorporating family time into a busy work schedule requires intentional effort, but it’s essential for fostering strong relationships and personal well-being. By being proactive and flexible, you can find creative solutions to spend quality time with your family, even during hectic weeks. Prioritize what matters most, and savor every moment together.
Consider hiring a family assistant or executive household manager to take some tasks off your to-do list. They can help grocery shop, walk the dog, catch up on laundry, and more. Then you don’t have to have a distracted mind while you spend time with your loved ones.
About The Author
Cora Gold is a mother and writer who aims to connect with other moms through her experiences with navigating motherhood. Cora is the Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist magazine and writes for sites including For Every Mom, MommyBites and Playground Professionals. When she’s not writing about style and beauty for her magazine, Revivalist, she loves to share her experience with family life. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.