If you have children there are two points in life I’m sure you have been at or will eventually get to; that point when you are trying to figure out "where the time went, and that point where you are trying to get your kid(s) to spend more time with the family!
I have raised 3 boys into young men & to this day at 18, 19 & 22 years old they ALL still love "Family Time"! Proud Mommy moment! :-)
When I speak of family time, I don’t mean just dinner, it could be an event, a movie, or just hanging around the family having fun. Each and every one of my boys love staying regularly connected to our family, even as they get older; and THAT is an accomplishment all in itself!
Because of popular opinion, my husband and I awaited the day that so many people talked about; that moment when the boys would not want to hang around us or have family time any longer!” So we openingly accepted our fate… but to our surprise the day has yet to come.
Now we do understand that it is healthy for them to venture off and find their own way in life. That’s not what this blog is about; it’s about teaching or showing your children how important family time and togetherness is in their lives and praying they will take that lesson on into their own family value; because we all know, friends come and go, but family is forever!
So how did we do it you ask? Well as with anything in life, nothing is fail proof, but I can say I believe my husband and I found a few rules and practices that worked for us while they were small and we just made them habits throughout the years and they still seem to be working 22 years and counting later.
Listed below are 5 rules and practices that have worked for us and we feel confident will work for you with time, practice and some stick-to-it-ness!
- Start when they are small! Catch them while they still need & even want your time & attention. Start incorporating family time into your family’s weekly routine once you are able to begin a regular routine after having the baby. This can even start once the baby starts to use a highchair; pull that highchair up to the table so he/she can be included in dinner time. Starting earlier is key, because we all know if it’s not ingrained in them, IT WILL NOT last long.
- Make it a habit! Keeping family time as a weekly routine is another key to getting the kids use to it. They say it takes doing something 28 to 30 days over and over again before it becomes a habit, so keep it up!!!
- Make it interesting! Make sure it's something they have an interest in. It could be a movie, a game, a TV show, an event, etc. The family time event, outing or “thing” doesn’t always have to be something everyone agrees on; for example sometimes mom may have to suffer through a football game if she has a house full or boys, (I know this one oh too well!) or dad may have to sit through watching "Princess Diaries 2 for the 3rd time, just for his own little princess....Sometimes you have to suck it up and “Just sit through it!”
- Don’t be so serious about it! Don't always use “family time” as a time for direct lessons. As they grow up there are always lessons in life they can learn, and you may be tempted to use this time to make an example of those lesson or talk about certain topics, but trust me when I say you don’t want to always use “family time” as a serious moment. Mix it up from fun and light topics to serious ones with fun and light being the prominent one. As a teen or young adult you don't always want to feel like you are in school. So even if your motive is to use this particular family time as a lesson, "feel" the kid(s) out. If you feel you can discuss the topic at hand right then, then go for it, but if not, then go to the event or watch the movie and save the “life lesson talk” for another time.
- Be Flexible! As they grow up continue to have scheduled family time but be flexible with them. Yes as they get older & make their own schedules they may miss a day or two of “family time”, but keep the tradition up and eventually they will realize what they are missing and come back into the fold.
As I mentioned earlier nothing is fail proof and you really have to cater life to your own family’s culture and values, but one thing I do believe is if you have a heart to keep “family time” alive in the lives of your teens and young adults then just by having the desire to do it is a start and just by starting you are on the RIGHT TRACK to raising teens & young adults who will always enjoy & love Family Time!
Remember, Relationships Do Matter!